Kaiser Permanente Awards $1 Million to Improve the Health of Youth Who Experience Violence

Grants to 20 school-based health centers and community organizations will increase screening, advance best practices and fill gaps in available services across Northern California

Press Release
four teens sitting on a dock by the water looking serious

OAKLAND, Calif. — As part its ongoing commitment to improve community health and support school-based wellness, Kaiser Permanente recently announced $1 million in grants aimed at increasing screening, expanding treatment and advancing classroom and organizational strategies for helping youth heal from trauma and move on to healthier lifestyles.

The grants of $50,000 each were made on Jan. 1, and awarded to 20 Northern California community-based organizations and school-based health centers that provide care and services to youth ages 12 to 19.

“Violence in our communities has far-reaching consequences that go beyond direct physical injury,” said Don Mordecai, MD, director of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services, and chair, Chiefs of Psychiatry for Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Region. “As a health care organization committed to total health, we know that violence-related trauma not only impacts the short and long-term health of individuals, but also undermines the overall vitality of our communities.”

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  and Kaiser Permanente, demonstrated that adults who have traumatic adverse childhood experiences, including violence and abuse, have an increased likelihood of of stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and early death. Adults who experienced violence as children also experience lower job performance and employment rates.

“Victims of violence-related trauma can lose trust, and this shapes how effectively they can respond to treatment,” said Dr. Mordecai. “By taking a trauma-informed approach — one that focuses first on restoring a sense of safety — we can help victims heal and prevent future trauma. These grants will help youth and advance trauma-informed care in communities we serve that have high rates of violence.”

Among the grant recipients are:

  • West Contra Costa Unified School District, which will use its grant to benefit more than 1,600 students in the East Bay through training for school-based mental health providers to provide trauma-informed screening and service delivery, and through outreach and education for students, parents, school staff and service providers on the impacts of youth trauma.
  • Huckleberry Youth Programs, Inc. in San Francisco, which will increase on-site support for 500 runaway and homeless youth; implement trauma-informed training for staff and a trauma screening tool; and expand partnerships with agencies that can provide youth with additional short and long-term services.
  • Kids First, which will increase screenings for trauma in youth clients in Sacramento and Placer counties; provide expanded counseling sessions available to youth who need longer-term treatment; and host trauma-informed care training for staff and providers located in the Roseville and Sacramento region.

The grants are just one part of Kaiser Permanente’s overall investment in youth and schools. In 2013 the organization provided $10 million in youth-focused grants in Oakland and launched its Thriving Schools initiative to provide prevention-focused, evidence-based wellness tools — at no cost — to any school.

“We know that academic performance suffers when students are exposed to violence,” said Stephanie Demos, director of Development and Communications from the Alum Rock Counseling Center in East San Jose. The $50,000 investment will help more than 800 students in our community. “This grant has the potential to provide safer, more secure schools and neighborhoods for those we serve, with the resources we need to help youth heal and go on to lead successful, productive lives. Kaiser Permanente’s support will have an impact for years to come.”

The complete list of grantees includes:

“Violence impacts us all, but it is preventable, and its impact can be decreased,” said Dr. Mordecai.  “We have to work together and address it at the individual, family, school and community level.”

For more information, visit Northern California Community Benefit and Thriving Schools.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.1 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.