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The Benefits of Intervention

August 16, 2010

While traveling last week, I managed to read most of Dr. Gabor Mate’s “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.” It resonated with me as a great model for our Restoration to Health Strategy. We have recognized that all of our tribal members have felt the sting of Historical Trauma. Many have also suffered inter-generational family trauma in varying degrees. We have both behavioral impacts and health impacts among our population. We also have the support of our board of directors and many community leaders to facilitate a community based response to the issues we face.

We also have models to follow that have worked. The Washington State Family Policy Council has implemented an effective intervention program by funding Community Networks created by legislation in 1994. Their involvement in ACEs started later, but has still produced impressive Network response to the problems caused by ACEs. Through their efforts, they projected conservative cost savings of $55.87 million biennially through the outcomes achieved through their efforts. (http://www.fpc.wa.gov/publications/technicalnotes_costsavings_final.pdf) I believe we can achieve even more proportionate savings due to the higher cost of operating in rural Alaska, and including health care cost savings in the future.

But the greater achievements will hopefully be the ability of our tribal members to achieve happiness and fulfillment in their lives. As Dr. Mate observes, it is human connection and acceptance that we truly want. We need to build our capacity to become attuned to our family, friends and partners. While saving dollars is critical to our funding agencies, restoring traditional balance to our communities is more important to us.

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