Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) announced that Southwestern Area Health Education Center will receive a $448,895 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Public Health and Science and Office of Minority Health. The grant will work to treat the impact of trauma among racial and ethnic minority communities over the course of three years.  


“Identifying and treating the impacts of trauma is essential for the health of Southwest Connecticut’s residents and community,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the impact of trauma on mental health as Americans are disconnected from friends, family, and other support systems. Southwestern Area Health Education Center’s work is more important than ever to combat stigma about mental illness and provide resources during this pandemic.”  


“The "Be the Change — Connecticut" project will enable Southwestern Area Health Education Center and its partners to activate a statewide network of agencies and community members to address the impact of trauma on health and wellbeing,” said Fernando Morales, Executive Director of the Southwestern Area Health Education Center. “The award will also expand the organization's capacity and reach in providing health education to Connecticut residents.” 


According to Southwestern Area Health Education Center, The Be the Change—Connecticut project will develop and implement a Community Health Worker model to address social determinants of health associated with incidence of Adverse Childhood experiences (ACEs) in Connecticut’s racial/ethnic minority populations and communities located in Opportunity Zones throughout the state, including Native American tribes in Eastern Connecticut and the Greater Bridgeport area. The project will mobilize a cadre of partners to conduct educational sessions on the relationship between social determinants of health and trauma, risk and protective factors, and approaches to preventing and addressing ACEs, including utilizing Earned Income Tax Credit. Community Health Workers will also connect participants in education and outreach to support services. Click here to learn more about the  Southwestern Area Health Education Center.