Hillsides Kicks Off Trauma Informed Training with Aetna and The University of Oklahoma

Los Angeles, June 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hillsides is partnering with Aetna Better Health, the Medicaid managed care business of Aetna®, a CVS Health® company, and Dr. Chan M. Hellman to measure hope and workforce wellness at Hillsides. The Hope Initiative builds on the science of hope as a mechanism for advancing trauma informed care.

Dr. Hellman’s research is focused on the application of the Hope Theory to predict adaptive behaviors, and hope as a psychological strength that buffers stress and adversity among those impacted by trauma. The Circle of Excellence established between Hillsides, Dr. Hellman, and Aetna seeks to test several hope-centered trainings and organizational practices as a means of improving individual practice and coordinated community responses to trauma. The partners will measure the effectiveness of these activities and practices when applied across Hillsides’ workforce of 500 employees.

“Hope has emerged as a leading protective factor promoting well-being for children, adults and families experiencing adversity and stress,” said Dr. Hellman, professor at the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work and executive director of Hope Research Center University of Oklahoma – Tulsa. “Moreover, we have found that nurturing hope among staff buffers against stress and burnout as they continue to serve our communities. Based upon the robust body of evidence, Hillsides has committed to building a hope-centered agency where both clients and staff can thrive.”

The initiative will contribute to this understanding of hope by conducting an investigation that includes a baseline measurement of staff well-being, burnout, resilience and hope. Aetna is sponsoring both the twelve-month project study, as well as the Hope Centered Trauma Informed training provided by Dr. Hellman, through its Trauma Informed Care Center of Excellence.

“According to one study, therapists who treat individuals with trauma are vulnerable to the effects of secondary trauma, especially if they do not have the appropriate training, support and self-care,” said Christie Hahn, Manager of Behavioral Health, Complex Product Development for Aetna Medicaid. “The fact that our community partners are dedicated to taking good care of their workforce creates a sense of collective hope around this project that all stakeholders can tap into.”

Hillsides’ senior leadership team recently participated in the training with Dr. Hellman where they learned simple and effective tools for hope-centered goal setting. Upon completing the training, the group walked away with a foundational understanding on the science of hope and its connection to well-being.

“We are so excited to kick off this major initiative. The focus on hope will bring so much value to our workforce, especially right now as we transition out of a pandemic and return to work. Our staff need hope for the future,” said Stacey Roth, Hillsides President and Chief Executive Officer.

As part of Hillsides’ Hope Initiative, the nonprofit's staff will receive hope-centered trauma informed training. Some staff members will participate in Dr. Hellman’s Hope Navigator training, which will equip Hillsides with Hope Ambassadors who will sustain and grow the work.

“Our workforce is well attuned to the principles and practices of trauma informed care. Adding hope will only enrich their resilience and ability to be successful in this extremely hard work,” said Roth.

Hillsides is currently working on its organizational vision statement that will guide the future implementation of hope-centered, trauma-informed policies, practices and procedures for the entire workforce.

“At times where hope has fluctuated for many of us, it is especially important to support those around us,” said Samira Vishria, Hillsides Director of Professional Development. “As an organization, I do believe we have a responsibility to acknowledge the wellness of our workforce. I am proud to be a part of Hillsides where we continue to enhance our trauma informed services and are bringing in the Hope Initiative alongside the University of Oklahoma and Aetna.”


About Hillsides

Hillsides is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves almost 17,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Hillsides has been a designated Trauma Informed Care Agency by the National Council for Behavioral Health. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.Hillsides.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.

About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.8 million people in 15 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Texas. For more information, see www.aetnabetterhealth.com.


About Dr. Chan Hellman
Dr. Hellman joined the University of Oklahoma in 2002. He is a professor in the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work and Founding Director of the Hope Research Center. He also holds Adjunct Professor appointments in the OU College of Public Health and School of Community Medicine.

Dr. Hellman’s current research is focused on the application of hope theory to predict adaptive behaviors and hope as a psychological strength that buffer stress and adversity among those impacted by family violence. In this context, he is also interested in the impact of prevention and intervention services on improving hope and well-being. Dr. Hellman has also begun to examine the effects of collective hope on a community’s capacity to thrive. He has numerous scholarly publications and books and has presented his research at both national and international conferences. Dr. Hellman teaches both the master’s and doctoral level primarily in the areas of positive psychology, research methods and statistics.


Contact Data