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KVC Health Systems

How Brain Science is Changing Government Policy in America

In September 2015, President Obama signed an executive order encouraging the U.S. federal government to design its policies and programs around behavioral science insights. The order recognizes that when policies and programs are aligned with brain science, they will substantially improve outcomes for individuals, families, communities and businesses.

Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, celebrated the signing of the executive order in a blog post while calling for the momentum to continue:



“This research clearly shows that when a child is exposed to severe, frequent and unrelenting stress, also known as toxic stress, it can profoundly alter that child’s ability to self-regulate; to form normal, healthy adult relationships; and to think abstractly. Let’s use this White House Executive Order to help us continue to advocate for additional scientific research, including the neurosciences to also be considered in federal procedures and policies.” 

In November 2014, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities received a grant to create a two-country cohort focused on aligning systems and public policy with the latest brain science. The initiative is in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Palix Foundation’s Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. In June 2015, KVC Health Systems, which includes the new KVC Institute for Health Systems Innovation and its premier psychiatric treatment division KVC Hospitals, was one of 15 U.S. and Canadian nonprofit organizations selected to participate in “Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities.” This two year initiative has brought together leaders from these organizations to move the needle on difficult social issues including poverty, substance abuse, family discord, trauma, and physical and mental health challenges.

KVC Health Systems, based in the Kansas City area, is an international leader known for its track record of innovation in child welfare and behavioral healthcare. The nonprofit organization improves outcomes for thousands of children in foster care across Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky and West Virginia, and also provides in-home therapy to keep families safely together and prevent the need for out-of-home care (often called family preservation). KVC is nationally recognized for its leadership in integrating trauma-informed care into child welfare and related systems.

In January 2016, leaders from KVC Health Systems, the KVC Institute for Health Systems Innovation and KVC Hospitals will travel to Washington, D.C. for the third convening of the Change in Mind cohort. Check back on our website for updates on the Change in Mind initiative, or follow our Facebook and Twitter pages.