All too often new initiatives—particularly those funded by grant or foundation dollars—shut down when funding ceases. That will not be the case for the Michigan ACE Initiative. In fact, the Michigan ACE Initiative will continue—and actually increase its presence and focus—as we address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in Michigan in 2019 and beyond.

Our grant with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF) ended Nov. 30, 2018—and we are immensely grateful for the MHEF for supporting us the last two years as we got the Michigan ACE Initiative off the ground. Under the MHEF we were able to generate statewide awareness of ACEs, train over 100 Master Trainers in communities across the state and reach thousands of people through hundreds of presentations regarding the presence and impact of ACEs in Michigan. We even produced a video highlighting our efforts that has been widely viewed.

As we were winding down the MHEF funded effort, presentations were made to specific Michigan-based organizations concerning support of the Michigan ACE Initiative. The data regarding the prevalence of ACEs in Michigan and impact on future health conditions, workforce production and educational attainment made support an easy decision and we’re thrilled to announce that the Michigan ACE Initiative will continue under the umbrella of the MAHP Foundation and its Steering Committee.  So, what does this mean for the future year?

1.More of the Same. The drumbeat of awareness will continue through the MAHP Foundation consultants, Michigan ACE Steering Committee efforts, and the grassroots reach of the more than 100 Michigan ACE Initiative Master Trainers.

2.Shift in Focus to “Resilience.” Moving forward, we will take a look at what is making a difference and where can we go once we know a child has ACEs—as well as what can be done for parents, grandparents and those in a guardianship relationship. Our intent is to produce a video to highlight Michigan efforts in Resilience, work with our Master Trainers and others to inventory what is working and tap other potential resources to be involved in this effort—think Michigan 2-1-1 call centers as a potential here.

3.Continue to carry a message of public policy and advocacy to the new administration and Legislature.  There is much that the current state government is doing, and can do, in terms of reducing the incidence and impact of ACEs. Creating awareness of ACEs and advocating for change and effective public policy will continue to be a cornerstone of the Michigan ACE Initiative moving forward. This is not limited to health care but would also look at the efforts of those in education, higher education, corrections and employment training.

4.Using Social Media. Our current website will evolve to a stand-alone location and our presence on Facebook—both the public page and private group—will continue to focus on key news and events regarding ACEs.

5.Annual Gathering. We need to remain on the same page in sharing data and information that retains the credibility of the ACE study and research findings. We have also seen the galvanizing impact of a statewide conference on this targeted issue and are planning to hold such an event during the first quarter of 2019.  Bringing in national speakers, bringing all of our Master Trainers together, showcasing new Michigan data, and finalizing the video for resilience are the tentative focus for this event.  Moreover, the Michigan ACE Initiative will continue to participate with various statewide conferences of many organizations.

6.Collaboration. The Michigan ACE Initiative will also take advantage of the collaboration taking place from many of the organizations represented on the State Steering Committee. This creates opportunity for synergy in reaching mutual objectives and taking advantage of additional visible media messaging.

The Michigan ACE Initiative is only just beginning.  We look forward to working with incoming Gov. Whitmer and her administration, as well as the new Legislature, to meet the needs identified by ACEs.  We are happy to state very clearly—we are not going away.