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HEARTS receipt of MARC grant to impact LaSalle

The abilities that the University at Albany’s 15-member collaborative called HEARTS will have to expand its work based in practices directly related to groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of neurology and brain science skyrocketed with UAlbany’s announcement of a $300,000 grant award. LaSalle School, Albany is a key HEARTS member and provider of services to youth and families.

Healthy Environments And Relationships That Support – HEARTS – is a collaborative network of 15 nonprofit agencies and health providers concentrating efforts on the Capital Region’s most underserved, high-ACE scoring populations, including children from minority groups, people experiencing disabilities, and homeless people. LaSalle School, Albany ACEs Response logo butterfly AND wordingis a HEARTS partner working closely together with the entire HEARTS coalition to advance brain science research and treatment practices.

This sizable grant award came as a result of HEARTS selection for the national project called Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC). In a December 2014 press release launching the MARC initiative, the Health Federation of Philadelphia announced that $4.8 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment would fund well-established coalitions and partnerships chosen for the MARC project. Those chosen would have a demonstrated history of working together to reduce childhood adversity and promote resiliency among diverse populations of all age groups. UAlbany’s HEARTS initiative is one of 14 communities across the country selected for MARC.

“The HEARTS initiative was selected for MARC because it represents an outstanding model for how communities can use research on ACEs to engage and mobilize action. We look forward to sharing their best practices and learnings as we work together to create just, healthy, and resilient communities through the MARC project,” said Leslie Lieberman, MARC director of Philadelphia.

All participants in the Capital Region HEARTS network are:

“Over the years, in LaSalle’s work in HEARTS, we have embedded core principles of ACE awareness and trauma informed care in all aspects of our work with children and families and as part of our training of staff,” LaSalle School Executive Director Bill Wolff said in remarks congratulating HEARTS on their selection for the MARC initiative. Wolff is also a co-principal investigator on the new grant. “Our selection earlier this year as one of 10 organizations from across the U.S. to be part of the ‘Change in Mind’ brain science project positions us to contribute significantly to the MARC collaborative and the efforts to disseminate ACE-resilience knowledge and impact practices so that children and adults are better able to overcome the effects of trauma and live healthier lives.”

Called Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities, the 15 site, two-country effort is also comprised of five Canadian sites. Change in Mind is sponsored by the national Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and concluded its second convening from November 3-5, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, a few days before the MARC sites were announced.

UAlbany School of Social Welfare Associate Professor Heather Larkin will serve as the MARC project leader for the HEARTS initiative. She said “MARC funds will allow us to move from a service-sector focus to a five-county community development, mobilization and action plan, along with a statewide scale-up benefits through state agencies. Larkin also heads the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services.

“MARC funds and the national learning community which we will join allow our region to accelerate interventions to promote ACE resilience and to help mitigate the negative effects of ACEs,” said UAlbany School of Social Welfare Dean Emerita Katharine Briar-Lawson, a collaborator on the new grant.

The first face-to-face meeting of MARC communities was held in Philadelphia on November 8th and 9th.

LaSalle School is a leader in programs and services for youth and families in crisis offering a variety of programs designed to meet their needs including specialized residential placement, day service education, and alternative to detention services. The Counseling Center at LaSalle is an OMH and OASAS licensed outpatient behavioral health clinic located at LaSalle School, and currently implementing ACE treatment practices with youth and families. LaSalle is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), and affiliated with the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA), and the national Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.


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