Rural Opportunity Institute Launches New Resilience Education Program with NC AHEC and Barton College

Collaborated to create the first statewide online training course for students to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and trauma and healing practices associated with resilience skills.

WILSON, NC – Edgecombe County Rural Opportunity Institute shares news of a new partnership with North Carolina area health education centers, L AHEC region and Barton College to launch a new virtual clinical experience addressing impacts ACEs and trauma on individuals and communities.

In response to COVID-19, Area L AHEC and Barton College have teamed up to create online modules that could replace students’ clinical experiences in person. They enlisted the help of the Rural Opportunity Institute and fourteen of its certified resilience educators to film and produce a module focused on trauma awareness, which is part of NC AHEC’s virtual training program, which is made available by each of the 9 state AHECs covering all 100 counties.

“I am very proud to be part of raising awareness for ACES through this online platform for health students,” said Tyra Hilliard, Partner Relations Coordinator at the Rural Opportunity Institute. “By increasing awareness of the impact of childhood trauma, we can begin to decrease incorrect diagnoses of ADHD and ADD by considering ACEs while looking for the root cause of behavior problems.”

More specifically, virtual clinical experiences offer:

  • 80 hours of instruction, including 6.5 hours of trauma-informed critical education, for future healthcare professionals in North Carolina, currently enrolled full-time in a health degree program.
  • Case examples of trauma-informed community interactions in various professions (including physicians and school guidance counselors)
  • Provides the foundation for other states and communities across the country to benefit from training within their own education and advocacy programs.

“When planning the Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE module, we looked to ROI given their expertise in training trauma-informed community members,” says Dr. Susan Bane, Associate Professor of Trauma. paramedical and sports studies and doctor. “Their collaboration was vital to the success of this module and gave students the opportunity to see how each of us should care for each other through a trauma-informed lens – being sensitive to the impact of trauma on others and on ourselves. “

About the Rural Opportunity Institute: The Rural Opportunity Institute, founded in 2017, works in Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson counties to help individuals and organizations create spaces that promote healing from trauma. Over the long term, implementing trauma-informed practices can improve many community outcomes, including chronic disease, high school graduation, employment, and mental health.

About North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC): NC AHEC’s mission is to provide and support educational activities and services focused on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources to recruit, train and retain the workforce necessary to create a Healthy North Carolina. The L AHEC zone is one of nine NC AHEC program centers and serves Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Northampton and Wilson counties.

About Barton College: Founded in 1902, Barton College is a private four-year liberal arts college located in Wilson, North Carolina. The Barton Experience focuses on academic excellence within a wide range of professional and liberal arts programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees, including masters in Nursing, Kinesiology, Criminology and criminal justice, school administration and MBA in strategic leadership. Barton celebrates innovation and bold thinking among faculty and staff as the College encourages bold leadership development among students. Barton offers internships, internships and targeted research / presentations in academic disciplines; engage extracurricular cohorts; significant international travel and studies; opportunities to give back through community service; an impressive array of cultural events; and various sports competitions between 24 college teams. Further information is available at

For more information, please contact:

  • Regarding collaborations with ROI or one of its certified resilience trainers, contact Tyra Hilliard at


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