Webinar — Advocacy and Action to Address ACEs in Rural Appalachia: Multi-Sector Partners in the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Webinar — Advocacy and Action to Address ACEs in Rural Appalachia: Multi-Sector Partners in the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative

Dec 18, 2019

On Wednesday, December 18th, the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative hosted a free webinar, “Advocacy and Action to Address ACEs in Rural Appalachia: Multi-Sector Partners in the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative.”

The town of Boone, North Carolina and its home county Watauga, located in the rural Appalachian High Country region of the state, have served as catalysts for change in addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the health risks associated with trauma. Home to a large public university—Appalachian State University—and numerous non-profit, governmental, and public health agencies, these community partners have embarked on a multi-year initiative to improve the health and well-being of their county and region.

The Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative (WCCI) advances equal partnership between academics and community stakeholders—such as social workers, public health officials, and community members themselves—in a grassroots pursuit of health equity and profound collective impact.

This presentation detailed WCCI’s numerous initiatives, including cross-sector meetings and events focused on educating the community about ACEs and the development of an interprofessional course at Appalachian State University focused on training health professional students in trauma-informed practices. It also discussed the impacts these initiatives have had for academics, practitioners, and community members, as well as WCCI’s strengths and ongoing challenges in addressing ACEs and trauma in a rural setting.

We were excited to feature three speakers who will share their experiences addressing ACEs and trauma in rural Appalachia:
  • Adam Hege, PhD: Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Public Health Program Director at Appalachian State University
  • Denise Presnell, MSW: School Social Worker with Watauga County Schools and Co-Lead of the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative
  • Jennifer Warren: Executive Director of Western Youth Network