Rural Opportunity Institute Launches New Resiliency Educational Program with NC AHEC and Barton College

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Collaboration to create the first statewide online training for students to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma and the healing practices associated with resilience skills. 

WILSON, N.C. — Rural Opportunity Institute in Edgecombe County shares news of a new partnership with North Carolina Area Health Education Centers, Area L AHEC, and Barton College to launch a new virtual clinical experience addressing the impacts of ACEs and trauma on individuals and communities.

In response to COVID-19, Area L AHEC and Barton College partnered to create online modules that could substitute in-person student clinical experiences. They enlisted the help of Rural Opportunity Institute and fourteen of its Certified Resilience Educators to film and produce a module focused on trauma awareness, which is part of NC AHEC’s virtual training program, which is made available through each of the state’s 9 AHECs covering all 100 counties.

“I am so proud to be a part of increasing ACES awareness through this online platform for students in the health field,” says Tyra Hilliard, Partner Relations Coordinator at Rural Opportunity Institute. “By increasing awareness of the impact of childhood trauma, we can start to decrease the incorrect diagnoses of ADHD and ADD by considering ACEs while searching for the root cause of behavioral issues.”

Specifically, the virtual clinical experiences provide:

  • 80 hours of instruction, including 6.5 hours of critical trauma-informed education, for the future healthcare professionals of North Carolina, who are currently enrolled, full-time, in a health-degree program.
  • Case examples of trauma-informed community interactions across various professions (including physicians and school guidance counselors)
  • Provides the groundwork for other states and communities across the country to leverage the training within their own education and advocacy programs.

“When planning the Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs’ module, we turned to ROI given their expertise in training trauma-informed community members,” explains Dr. Susan Bane, associate professor of allied health and sport studies and physician. “Their collaboration has been vital to the success of this module and has provided the students with the opportunity to see how each of us should care for others through a trauma-informed lens – being sensitive to the impact of trauma on others and ourselves.”

About Rural Opportunity Institute: The Rural Opportunity Institute, founded in 2017, has been working in Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson counties to support people and organizations to create spaces that support healing from trauma. Long-term, implementing trauma-informed practices can improve many community outcomes including chronic disease, high school graduation, employment and mental health.

About North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC):  NC AHEC’s mission is to provide and support educational activities and services with a focus on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources to recruit, train, and retain the workforce needed to create a healthy North Carolina. The Area L AHEC is one of nine centers within the NC AHEC Program and serves Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Northampton, and Wilson counties.

About Barton College:  Founded in 1902, Barton College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college located in Wilson, N.C. The Barton Experience focuses on academic excellence within a wide range of professional and liberal arts programs leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, including master’s degrees in Nursing, Kinesiology, Criminology and Criminal Justice Sciences, School Administration, and an MBA in Strategic Leadership. Barton celebrates innovation and bold thinking among faculty and staff as the College nurtures bold leadership development among students. Barton offers purposeful internships, practicums, and research/presentation in academic disciplines; engaging co-curricular cohorts; meaningful international travel and study; opportunities to give back through community service; an impressive array of cultural events; and diverse athletic competition among 24 collegiate teams. Additional information is available at www.barton.edu.

For additional information, please reach out to:

  • For more information about the module, contact Dr. Susan Bane at smbane@barton.edu.
  • Regarding collaborations with ROI or one of its Certified Resilience Trainers, contact Tyra Hilliard at tyra@ruralopportunity.org.

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