Recognition for Trauma-Informed Care

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By Michele Calvo, Policy Associate at NYAM

The Advancing Prevention Project team was encouraged to see yesterday’s CNBC article highlighting Kaiser Permanente’s participation in The National Council on Behavioral Health’s Trauma Informed Primary Care project, to screen and treat trauma in primary care. Little by little, we’re seeing efforts from the health system to treat the mind and body as a whole. As we learned from the ACE studies, trauma’s effects on physical and mental, emotional, and behavioral health are profound. Health systems can no longer afford to avoid treating trauma if they intend to bend the cost curve and achieve better outcomes for their patients.

Trauma informed healthcare practices are an important step forward. But, as public health practitioners we know that most health outcomes aren’t explained by the care we receive, but by the conditions of the places we live, work, and play. I’d challenge us to think about ways to be trauma informed and trauma sensitive outside the clinic walls where people go every day. Can we imagine what it would mean to be trauma-sensitive in our work places, schools, welfare offices, or even in probation?

This might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s actually been implemented in many schools and systems in our very own state. Through APP’s new learning collaborative, seven NYS county teams will begin supporting community level change with community stakeholders that range from care coordination to schools to local health departments to social service agencies.

I hear all the time that being trauma informed requires a paradigm shift. But what does that mean? For me, it means that part of the human experience is being exposed to trauma. Trauma informed care transforms care by forcing us to address everyone’s potential exposure to trauma. It’s that kind of awareness, understanding, and concern that I’d like to see more.

If you want to find out more about trauma, the learning collaborative, or how we can help, visit our resources page at http://www.advancingpreventionproject.org/mental-health and scroll down to “trauma and resiliency” or email me at mcalvo@nyam.org.

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