School's "OUT", Trauma-Informed Care is IN
JUNE 2015
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School's OUT, Trauma-Informed Care is IN

Dear Friends,

Out. It’s a powerful word. June is LGBTQ Pride month. In 2014, LAUSD partnered with the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Project SPIN to launch the “OUT for Safe Schools” campaign. It was a strong stance at the time whereby thousands of “LAUSD staff members, parents and supporters pledged to wear badges (pictured above) to show their support for LGBTQ students and their allies." The initiative went on to state that "LAUSD is committed to making our schools safe and supportive for ALL our students.” LAUSD has continued these efforts. 
On May 18, the L.A. Times’ Theresa Watanabe reported on a watershed class-action lawsuit filed by several students and faculty from the Compton Unified School District seeking to shed light on “a key underlying cause of poor academic performance.” Trauma. Trauma comes in many forms. In the L.A. Times piece, Marlene Wong, associate dean and clinical professor at the USC School of Social Work, states "that decades of research have found that children who have suffered serious trauma are far more likely to repeat a grade, be suspended from school and have severe attendance and behavioral problems.”
The Compton Unified lawsuit alleges that "the students were kicked out of several schools, but not given appropriate services to help them overcome their struggles…and seeks training for staff to recognize trauma, mental health support for students to cope with their condition and a shift from punitive disciplinary practices to those based on reconciliation and healing." One of those student plaintiffs is Kimberly Cervantes, 18, who stopped attending school for weeks at a time after multiple traumas, including being told by teachers at a different school that her bisexuality was “wrong.” 

LAUSD has stepped up on addressing trauma in our student population. In his recent article on the Huffington Post website, Joseph Erbentraut interviews Pia Escudero, Director of LAUSD School Mental Health, who speaks about the importance of this framework and the district's efforts
which include training teachers and school staff, parent work shops, and screening for trauma to treat affected students who have had exposure to traumatic events. Read this informative article here

“Out" has other meanings too. Last week I had the privilege of attending Hollywood High’s 2015 graduation ceremony where hundreds of graduating seniors were charged with venturing OUT into the world to make their positive mark upon it. During the ceremony I was struck by Noe Guzman, class salutatorian, who, as he addressed his classmates, asked them to "be responsible and be respectful" when they step OUT into the world each day. 

We would all do well to take Noe's advice. When we engage with folks out in the world, calling upon their strength but also recognizing their vulnerability (and perhaps even holding a space for their experienced-trauma), we actually create a space for them to stay present and receive the support they need. Our burgeoning LAUSD Wellness Network is a powerful resource for our students and their families to do that. As Marlene Wong said in the aforementioned article, becoming trauma-informed is "really the civil-rights issue of our time for our children and their futures." 

LAUSD is "OUT." Trauma-informed care is in. And those are good things. 

Student Health = Student Success,
MJ Signature
Maryjane Puffer, BSN, MPA
Executive Director
The L.A. Trust for Children's Health


New Trust Youth Advisory Board Gets Oriented for Upcoming School Year

Creating a channel by which we can hear clearly the voices of the youth on our Wellness Center campuses is hugely important to the efficacy our work. On Saturday, May 30th, at the cool FORT Goods studio in L.A.'s Arts District, we hosted an orientation meeting for the new Youth Advisory Board recruits for the upcoming 2015-16 school year! With 22 students in attendance, representing 11 of our 14 sites, youth members gathered together to learn about their new roles as wellness champions, listen to graduating members share some of their transformative experiences from last year, and to begin to build a sense of camaraderie with each other. In addition to their unique talents, passions, and viewpoints, we are excited to see what this new cohort will bring to our work and to the school-based health care movement in general. The best is yet to come for our Wellness Centers at LAUSD! 


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Elizabeth Dominguez (L) and Mayra Velasquez (R) train 2nd graders at Nevin Elementary School on the best ways to take care of their smiles! 

Jefferson HS Student Leaders Deliver Oral Health Messages to Three Elementary Schools 

As part of their being awarded $1,000 scholarships from America's ToothFairy (National Children's Oral Health Foundation) and the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, two Jefferson High School seniors (both graduating Youth Advisory Board members to The L.A. Trust), Mayra Velasquez and Elizabeth Dominguez, presented to 10 elementary school classrooms at three LAUSD elementary schools. The ladies engaged the children with instruction on proper brushing and flossing techniques, teeth friendly foods, and the importance of oral health care and oral hygiene! Toothbrushes and coloring books were given to all involved, which made it a slam dunk with the students! The responses were really gratifying. One class even wrote and delivered thank you notes to our Mayra and Elizabeth. Beautiful job, ladies! As a fantastic side note, both women are off to college in the fall. Mayra will be attending Cal State L.A. and Elizabeth will go to San Francisco State. We are proud!


The L.A. Trust Wins Asthma Grant Trifecta

The L.A. Trust's work has recently expanded to include a focus on asthma prevention and management. Over the last months we have received 3 separate grants to help address the condition -- both increasing awareness of preventive strategies at Wellness Campuses and South bay schools and through clinical care quality improvement practices. The Healthy Harbors grant, ($120K) awarded by the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation, will go to support an asthma nurse position to serve the Port adjacent Wilmington and San Pedro schools and educate school staff on asthma prevention strategies. The California Breathing grant ($56K) from the California Department of Public Health's California Breathing Program will support Wellness Center staff at Fremont and Carson to develop quality improvement programming for asthma care at their Welllness Centers.  Our third grant is from the CVS Caremark Corporation ($25K) to leverage our learning and extend quality practices at  6 Wellness Centers. The L.A. Trust understands the gravity of this issue, its impact on a significant part of our LAUSD student population and the importance of leveraging the wonderful asthma care program run by District Nursing. Thank you funders!!!






Teen "Town Hall" Training at Hollywood High Brings Impactful Year to Close

On May 20, over 50 members of the Hollywood High community gathered after school for a "Teen Town Hall" to discuss challenges and barriers they face concerning health and wellness in their lives. There were powerful student testimonies as well as transformative ideas offered to address everything from healthy eating, school funding & overall social justice. Thank you to all the passionate attendees which included members of the Hollywood High School faculty and staff, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefits, Planned Parenthood L.A., Molina Healthcare, WeTap, and the Hollywood High School F.A.M.E Health Club. 

ECLW Project Advisory Board Gathers to Share Data and Make Plans

There's much to be excited about with our ECLW program! Early Childhood Linkages to Wellness (ECLW), the program that The L.A. Trust initiated with partner First 5 LA, gathered more than 20 members of its Project Advisory Board on June 2, to share achievements made during the program's first year, present preliminary data, and to strategize ways of enhancing and expanding the work going forward. ECLW seeks to connect the 0-5 population and their families to a wide array of integrated services which support the developmental health and wellness of the youngest members of our broader Los Angeles family. We are pleased to report that over this past school year, the ECLW program was able to reach 900 unique families, participate in 28 health fairs, and hold 108 parent workshops and trainings. 




Dr. Harold Charles Slavkin, D.Sc., Health Sciences

The L.A. Trust Board Member Receives Honorary Degree 

An honorary degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada was bestowed upon esteemed The L.A. Trust Board member, Dr. Hal Slavkin, for his pioneering work as one of the world’s leading researchers on the genetics of craniofacial, oral and dental development. Dr. Slavkin is a longtime advocate for increased access to health care for underserved populations, particularly vulnerable children and elderly adults. In addition to serving on our Board, Dr. Slavkin is a professor in the University of Southern California’s Ostrow School of Dentistry, and the Founding Director of the USC Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology. You can read about the honor here. How about them apples? 

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