Marlborough awarded grant money for healthy summer youth jobs

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By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

(l to r) Abigail Chrisafideis, public health intern; Patricia Moran, public health nurse; and Cathleen Liberty, director of Local Health Board of Health Photo/Nance Ebert
(l to r) Abigail Chrisafideis, public health intern; Patricia Moran, public health nurse; and Cathleen Liberty, director of Local Health Board of Health
Photo/Nance Ebert

Marlborough – As part of the Marlborough’s Board of Health’s Resilience Project, Cathleen Liberty, director of public health, Patricia Moran, public health nurse, and Abigail Chrisafideis, public health intern, are working together to promote public health and wellness throughout the community.

The type of programs that the three women have been tirelessly working on involve programs and activities that promote health and wellness among youth and low-income communities.

“What I had proposed was a comprehensive media strategy to educate the community on adverse childhood experiences, otherwise known as ‘ACES,’” Liberty said. “It has been proven that there is a definitive correlation between childhood trauma and later adult health issues like anxiety, obesity, depression and more.”

Chrisafideis and Moran held a few focus groups within the community, at schools, daycares and other venues. They concluded that there is a need for more education to bring awareness to those responsible for looking out for the welfare on the community’s youth, such as parents, bus drivers, daycare providers, teachers and others.

“The number of children who have suffered from early childhood trauma is staggering,” Moran said. “This directly affects the child’s development in a negative way. The younger ones are considered a higher risk. ACES is all about what we can do to help fix the problem. We learn to ask the question, ‘What happened to you?’”

Crisafideis, a junior nursing major at Worcester State University, took advantage of the internship opportunity.

“This was a great way for me to get experience in the field of public health,” she said. “I also interviewed a couple of police officers in town. I got their feedback on the work that they do with adverse child experiences…. They have to call child services when someone arrives. Their protocol is changing to a more trauma care approach where they take the mental health aspect into it. … The police work has become more open and understanding to mental health. If they are dealing with a drug addict, for example, instead of going directly to jail, this individual can go to a treatment facility.”

The immediate strategy was to create something that the community could take with them. Posters, postcards and bookmarks were sent out into the community and Crisafideis created a Facebook page and website.

The team created a slogan, “Break the Cycle – Be Trauma Aware,” along with a 15-second ad that will run for seven days on all the screens at the Regal Cinemas.

For more information, visit Marlborough Board of Health Resilience Project website, https://tinyurl.comyccznzck.