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Fort Thompson IHS facility included in pilot program preventing child trauma

FORT THOMPSON -- Two of South Dakota's tribal health facilities have been selected to participate in a new year-long program to improve child trauma care.

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FORT THOMPSON - Two of South Dakota's tribal health facilities have been selected to participate in a new year-long program to improve child trauma care.

According to a press release issued by the Indian Health Service (IHS) on Tuesday, the Fort Thompson Indian Health Center and the Woodrow Wilson Keeble Memorial Health Care Center based in Sisseton have been chosen to collaborate with the Johns Hopkins Center for Mental Health Services in Pediatric Primary Care to reduce childhood traumatic stress.

The program will use virtual technical assistance webinars, virtual learning communities, technical assistance calls and metrics collection and analysis to boost the accessibility of child trauma services in Native American communities.

Read Adm. Chris Buchanan, acting director of IHS, said traumatic experiences can cause stress or threaten a child's emotional or physical well-being. Buchanan said those experiences can include poverty, physical or sexual abuse, community or school violence and neglect, and he expressed the importance of the program.

"The quality of care for our youngest patients is important and this collaboration will allow IHS to reach out and respond to children and their families with early intervention and promote resiliency in order to lessen the effects of childhood traumatic stress," Buchanan said in the press release.

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One of the two facilities included in the pilot program is in Fort Thompson, which is located in the northwest quarter of The Daily Republic's coverage area. The facility offers services ranging from behavioral health to dental and optometry, and it will now be part of the learning collaborative targeted at preventing stress and trauma for young children.

The pilot program will also be introduced in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Michigan and Nevada, and staff at each facility are encouraged to test approaches to apply trauma detection and intervention practices into primary care services for youth.

Lawrence Wissow, an MD and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said the school is "honored" to work with tribal communities.

"We hope that we can help those communities develop their integrated care capacities, and we know that the larger integrated care world will learn from solutions that incorporate Native American traditions of healing and collaboration," Wissow said.

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