Aetna Better Health of Kentucky announces $380,000 donation to Healing TREE

A young man appearing to be distraught, in a counseling session with a female therapist.

Funds support EMDR trauma therapy trainings for clinicians

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 3, 2022 — Aetna Better Health® of Kentucky, a CVS Health® company (NYSE: CVS), donated $380,000 to Healing TREE (Trauma, Resources, Education & Entertainment) to fund a series of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy trainings for licensed clinicians.

Healing TREE is a Louisville-founded, national non-profit that advocates healing from abuse and trauma through its trauma-focused resources and education, like EMDR therapy training, and by producing and partnering with relevant film, television and theatre projects to empower the social change necessary to create a healing movement.

Childhood trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are linked to mental illness, chronic health problems and addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 61% of adults surveyed across 25 states reported they had experienced at least one type of ACE before age 18, and nearly one in six reported they had experienced four or more types of ACEs. Likewise, children going into foster care typically have experienced at least four ACE events prior to entering the child welfare system.

The donation made by Aetna to Healing TREE will greatly increase access to EMDR instruction. It will also increase accessibility to EMDR therapy for those living with unhealed trauma, including Aetna members of all ages.

“EMDR and other trauma therapies serve a critical purpose for Kentucky youth enrolled in the state’s Supporting Kentucky Youth (SKY) program, as it can help shatter cycles of abuse, poverty and poor mental and physical health,” said Paige Mankovich, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Kentucky. “As the managed care organization for SKY, we’ve witnessed, on many occasions, the trauma these children have had to carry on their own, coping with symptoms instead of being able to heal the problem. That’s why we’re diligent about sourcing the best trainings and education opportunities for everyone, from clinicians and social workers to foster parents and care managers. It’s imperative that as many clinicians as possible can provide this therapy, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with Healing TREE to make that a reality.”

EMDR therapy is an evidence-based treatment for trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unlike traditional therapy options such as talk therapy, EMDR actively engages the part of the brain that became injured during a traumatic event or series of events. Past research in children and adolescents has shown EMDR to be an effective method of treatment with significant reduction in PTSD symptoms. 

“There are so many people living with the devastating effects of unhealed trauma,” said Marissa Ghavami, Founder and Executive + Artistic Director of Healing TREE. “While EMDR is proven to significantly heal the parts of the brain affected by trauma, many clinicians are unable to provide EMDR therapy because its intensive training process tends to be cost-prohibitive. We’re honored and deeply appreciative for this donation that will enable us to expand our training across the state to clinicians who serve marginalized populations.” 

Visit Healing TREE's website to learn more about EMDR therapy training.

About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.8 million people in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, visit www.aetnabetterhealth.com.

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

Media contacts

Aetna
Robert Joyce
joycer@aetna.com

Healing TREE

Marissa Ghavami 
mghavami@healingtreenonprofit.org
(502) 743-2733