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December 12, 2019

New Kaiser Permanente Partnership Tackles the Challenge of Trauma and Stress Faced by Faculty, Staff and Students Nationwide

  • Kaiser Permanente, Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Discovery Education partner to deliver Resilience in School Environments initiative that addresses the social and emotional health of millions of faculty, staff and students 
  • Initiative builds on Kaiser Permanente/CDC research findings that those with four or more adverse childhood experiences are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide and those with six or more have a 20-year shorter life expectancy

OAKLAND, Calif., December 12, 2019 – Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest nonprofit, integrated health system, is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Discovery Education to address trauma and stress and promote social and emotional wellness at 25,000 schools nationwide. The Resilience in School Environments, or RISE, initiative will provide teachers with the skills and resources they need to support student mental health and to better tend to their own emotional needs.

A 2019 survey from the Pew Research Center found that 70% of teens say anxiety and depression is a “major problem” among their peers. And according to Gallup’s State of America’s Schools Report, nearly half of K-12 teachers report high daily stress during the school year, matching levels reported by nurses, physicians and others from other highly demanding professions.  RISE will address these issues by providing a comprehensive set of resources, at no cost, for school staff, teachers and districts to address some of the underlying factors of stress in schools and develop strategies and practices that foster more positive school environments. 

“Positive role models such as teachers can have a lasting positive impact on a child’s development, health and well-being,” said Gregory A. Adams, interim chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “We are proud to work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Discovery Education to cultivate school environments that will help millions of students, teachers and staff in our communities across America to instill greater resiliency and truly thrive.”

Spokane Public Schools principal Rachel Sherwood immediately recognized the possibilities of RISE for her school, Bemiss Elementary, where teachers regularly work with students influenced by trauma. For Sherwood, equipping teachers with strategies that help them meet the social and emotional needs of the whole child was appealing. 

“Teaching is a tough job. The pressure to make sure all of our students are learning and learning how to be safe can create a constant state of feeling as an educator that you are not doing enough,” Sherwood said. “That is exhausting. As a school system, we need these kinds of supports to surround our teachers and families for everyone’s long-term success and well-being.”

Through the partnership with Healthier Generation and Discovery Education, Kaiser Permanente is launching resources that will allow RISE to expand quickly across the U.S. By the year 2023, the initiative will reach at least 25,000 schools to cultivate the practices that improve safe and supportive learning environments with a unique focus on school employee health and wellness. The initiative, part of Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools, includes a focus on addressing adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, defined as traumatic events that occur before the age of 18.

RISE will be offered through a variety of virtual and in-person resources. On-site and virtual programming will be delivered in partnership with Healthier Generation, a leader in empowering children to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. Additional virtual content will be offered in partnership with Discovery Education, the global leader in standards-based digital curriculum resources reaching approximately half of U.S. K-12 classrooms. The RISE virtual resources from both Healthier Generation and Discovery Education will include virtual learning curricula to drive policy and practice changes in school communities.

School and district engagement with RISE are guided by the RISE Index, an evidence-informed, digital tool that helps them assess, prioritize, and plan key activities that promote the social and emotional health of staff and students. The index provides best practices and guides schools and districts in making meaningful policy and practice changes on their campuses.

“Since 2013, Kaiser Permanente has been our valued partner in helping thousands of schools nationwide improve students’ health and learning,” said Kathy Higgins, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “This expansion of our work through RISE will further empower schools to create environments that support the whole child — meeting their physical, social and emotional needs.”

“Social and emotional wellness is of paramount importance in educators’ efforts to maximize learning and prepare students for successful futures,” said Lori McFarling, Discovery Education's president of corporate partnerships. "We are proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente in their efforts to empower educators with dynamic digital resources to support their critical work to foster social and emotional learning resiliency both inside and outside the classroom."

The RISE expansion comes amid growing understanding of the long-term health effects of trauma and stress. Kaiser Permanente was one of the first organizations to recognize the link between trauma and health through the landmark ACEs study it conducted with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, released in 1998, illuminated the connection between childhood trauma and stress with health and well-being later in life. Last month, Kaiser Permanente announced that it will allocate $2.75 million in new research led by Kaiser Permanente research scientists to help prevent and mitigate the health effects of ACEs.


About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation believes every child deserves a healthy future. For over a decade, Healthier Generation has empowered kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them support their physical, social and emotional health. Driven by our passion that all young people deserve a chance to live healthier lives, our work, in total, has reached more than 29 million kids across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit HealthierGeneration.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms. Through its award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia resources, and the largest professional learning network of its kind, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning, creating immersive STEM experiences, and improving academic achievement around the globe. Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms and primary schools in the U.K. and reach over 5 million educators and 51 million students in more than 90 countries. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to empower teachers with customized solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at DiscoveryEducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DiscoveryEd.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/


Media Contact

Megan Walcek

Marketing and Communications Manager | Alliance for a Healthier Generation