Gift to UNMC focuses on helping those who have experienced mental trauma

September 13, 2017

Image with caption: Members of the UNMC College of Public Health team involved in the Building a Trauma-Informed Community initiative included (left-right): Lea Pounds, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health; Jungyoon 'JY' Kim, Ph.D., (principal investigator), assistant professor, Department of Health Services Research and Administration; Alisha Aggarwal, doctoral student, Department of Health Services Research and Administration; Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H., dean; and Melissa Tibbits, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health.

Members of the UNMC College of Public Health team involved in the Building a Trauma-Informed Community initiative included (left-right): Lea Pounds, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health; Jungyoon 'JY' Kim, Ph.D., (principal investigator), assistant professor, Department of Health Services Research and Administration; Alisha Aggarwal, doctoral student, Department of Health Services Research and Administration; Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H., dean; and Melissa Tibbits, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health.

The Claire M. Hubbard Foundation of Omaha has provided a gift of more than $76,000 to support the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its partners with a program that strives to help people who have experienced childhood mental trauma.

The donation establishes an expendable fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the Building a Trauma-Informed Community in Nebraska initiative at UNMC. The university will use the fund to support faculty and student research efforts related to the project within the College of Public Health.

The Building a Trauma-Informed Community program started last year with the goal to eventually train 22,000 professionals in the greater Omaha area on identifying the effects of childhood mental trauma

Pointing to the need for mental trauma training, Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the UNMC College of Public Health, said approximately 50 percent of adults in Nebraska report having experienced some type of adverse childhood events, which are referred to as ACEs.

"These adverse events have been linked to social, emotional and cognitive impairment with physiologic changes that lead to disease, disability and other problems," Dr. Khan said. "So we are especially grateful to the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation for support of this effort to create a trauma-informed community and to both prevent trauma events from happening and any re-traumatization. The foundation’s support will be especially integral in the attempt to protect children by improving educational efforts to identify at-risk children."

To achieve the program’s objectives, UNMC has partnered with Project Harmony, a non-profit organization assisting in both developing and delivering evidence-based training throughout the greater Omaha area. Part of the process includes collecting data on the current trauma training and practices being used in the community, and a UNMC research team is working to gather and examine this data.

"The very first step in moving to a trauma-informed community is to know where we are right now," said Jungyoon Kim, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor at the UNMC College of Public Health. "Throughout this project, we provide tools for community agencies to assess their current training practices and organizational policies to support trauma-informed care."

Jessica Kroeker, MSW, MPH, a licensed mental health practitioner and training specialist at Project Harmony, said, "Building a Trauma-Informed Community is focused on viewing others from a mentality of ‘what has happened to you?’ instead of the more common perception of ‘what is wrong with you?’"

The training and information will benefit practitioners in the fields of education, medicine, justice, child welfare and emergency medical response and will enable them to better recognize mental trauma in others and to respond appropriately to get them the help they need.

Dr. Kim said the program takes a tiered-approach that is intended to build awareness, develop skills and change behaviors and attitudes to create a more comprehensive response to trauma.

"A foundation of awareness and knowledge leads to opportunities for thoughtfully developing skills and procedures that are trauma sensitive," Dr. Kim said. "This provides community leaders and members of all occupations skills for responding to those affected by trauma in a way that best helps them succeed.

"Omaha is stepping up to become a safe and supportive community - a community that is committed to health and well-being by intentionally addressing trauma. Yet, these efforts are only as strong as the momentum behind them."

About the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation

The Claire M. Hubbard Foundation was established by the estate of the late Claire Hubbard and is led by her daughter, Anne M. Hubbard, M.D., of Omaha who graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Claire Watson Hubbard was a Boston native and graduated from Regis College in Massachusetts. During World War II, she was a dietitian for the Army and served four years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where she met her husband, Theodore "Ted" F. Hubbard, M.D.

Ted Hubbard was a graduate of the University of Nebraska where he received a bachelor’s degree and then a doctor of medicine in 1946. He completed an internship and served two years in the Army, stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Ted and Claire Hubbard married in 1950.

The Hubbards raised two children, Anne and Theodore Jr., after moving to Omaha in 1953. Dr. Hubbard was a pioneer in the field of cardiology and dedicated his career to the people of Nebraska and western Iowa. He died in 1995, and Claire died in 2011. They established charitable family foundations through their estates to continue their philanthropic ambitions.

We are Nebraska Medicine and UNMC. Our mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that raises private gifts to support the University of Nebraska. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, donors provided the university with $228.9 million for scholarships, academic programs, medical and other research, faculty support and facilities. Each year, more than 99 percent of gifts are designated by donors for a specific university purpose. Our Students, Our Future is the foundation’s current initiative to secure broad support for students. For more information visit nufoundation.org.

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