Stephanie hard at work coloring Patti Dobrowolski’s drawings

December 5, 2019

From Stephanie Sundborg, PhD, Research and Evaluation Coordinator, Trauma Informed Oregon

The Trauma Informed Care in Oregon Conference is over . . . It’s time to sit back, take a few breaths, and reflect on how it went, right? From our perspective it’s important to know, how did it go? What was valuable to participants and what could be improved on? Did the conference provide an opportunity for folks to connect to people, community, and TIC practices? And, did people learn something new?

Thanks to all who filled out the conference evaluation so that we can start to answer some of these questions. If you didn’t have a chance to fill out the conference evaluation, there is still time.

Approximately 12% of attendees have completed the conference evaluation either in hard copy or electronically. One of the first things that struck me was the level of trauma informed care (TIC) knowledge among respondents. The TIO staff had felt like the conference attendees had a fairly high level of familiarity about TIC and this was supported by the evaluation data. Seventy-two percent of respondents were either extremely or moderately familiar with TIC. Only three respondents claimed they were not familiar at all. Furthermore, they understood TIC as it applies to multiple systems including healthcare, education, early childhood, judicial, youth and family services, housing, and early childhood.

One of the goals of the conference was to help people doing trauma informed work (or learning about it) connect across Oregon. Based on responses, the conference was most successful at making connections with people and TIC practices. Folks felt a little less connected to communities; however, not one respondent chose “not at all” for any of these questions.

What was something you learned at the conference that you didn’t know before?

I thought this was a pretty great question. I figured that people would learn something new no matter what their level of TIC knowledge was coming into the conference. And, as it turned out, that was true. Even people claiming a great amount of familiarity with TIC gained new knowledge and information. One of the most frequent responses related to the amount of TIC work happening across the state and in different systems. People seemed surprised to learn about how much TIC work is going on. “I didn’t know that so many people and organizations across the state are doing this work!” “The extent to which trauma informed practices are scattered throughout the state.” “I did not know how many people were doing this work and how much was happening in Oregon.” 

Another frequent response related to TIC awareness. People stated they learned different ways to define TIC as well as ways to think about TIC in relationship to other concepts such as equity, social emotional learning, and resilience. Some respondents were happy to learn about ways in which TIC can be applied to climate change, or the outdoors, or occupations such as road construction, and interior design. While others were happy to learn of the resources and tools available and ways to think about TIC implementation. Legislative work related to TIC was mentioned numerous times, and many talked about the importance of workforce wellness and culture as healing. 

Is there anything that would have improved your experience?

Given the attendance at the conference, it’s no surprise that the most common suggestion for improvement was related to space. Many of the breakout areas were full and sometimes crowded and the tables in the great room felt a bit tight to some. People requested more time including unscheduled time to network with others, more time to visit the exhibitor tables, and longer workshop sessions to dig deeper and get more specific. Even though a great deal of effort went into ensuring the conference was welcoming and inclusive for all, there is always room for improvement and suggestions were made about centering other groups.

What did you find most valuable at the TIC conference?

Despite some areas for improvement, the response was overwhelmingly positive. People really liked the variety, depth, and breadth of the workshops. They liked the content and found the information applicable and replicable. People stated that they appreciated the conference packet and app, the handouts, and the PowerPoints slides. They liked the plenary sessions and the I Am M.O.R.E. performance. The wellness room was a hit, and the dedicated time for Black, Indigenous, People of Color was appreciated. Overall, people liked how the conference reflected TIC and was welcoming and inclusive. People specifically noted activities and time for regulation, self-care, and creative expression. “So many little and big things y’all did to make it awesome.”

The data is encouraging, but we hope you will complete an evaluation if you haven’t yet. We value your opinion!!