May 31, 2017

From Mandy Davis, LCSW, PhD, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon

Trauma Informed Oregon Review

As Trauma Informed Oregon’s (TIO) fiscal year ends (and because I said I would) I wanted to share some highlights from our work these past few years and what we’re focusing on next. Our work here at Trauma Informed Oregon mostly falls into the four areas outlined in our framework, which include training and education, policy and investment, implementation and accountability, and centralized resources and community building.

Lets look at some numbers from the 2015-2017 contract years:

  • Visited 23 counties
  • Visited 31 cities
  • Trained 9351 participants
  • Held 17 community forums
  • Subscribed 963 folks to the newsletter
  • Signed up 510 members to the collaborative
  • Have 3 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff, 7 MSW students, 2 PhD students
  • Witnessed 1 retirement (if we really let her)

The following are notable happenings in the 2015-2017 contract years:

  • Piloted Train-the-Trainer for Trauma Informed Care foundations
  • Passed by the Oregon house and senate, House Concurrent Resolution 33
  • Developed and launching (summer 2017) a TIC online course with the school of social work
  • Developed and launching (fall 2017) a TIC face-to-face course for multiple disciplines
  • Developed Implementation Roadmap and TIC Standards of Practice online (English and Spanish)
  • Increased opportunities to learn about TIC around the state
  • Increased interest in K-12 educational settings
  • Created youth led Oregon Trauma Advocates Coalition

As we move into the next two years, Trauma Informed Oregon will be focusing on the following:

  • Online training modules about the foundations of TIC
  • Culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate resources
  • Connections created through online groups
  • Experiences and results of those who are using the Standards of Practice
  • Strategies and tools to talk about outcomes of TIC
  • Intersections of trauma and suicide
  • Tip sheets and resources developed by those with lived experience
  • Initiative mapping /intersectionality

Please let us know what would be helpful as you work towards TIC in your area –

Mapping Out Connections

I want to talk a bit about what I am calling “initiative mapping,” (for now, I often say that trauma informed care is not an initiative but rather helpful information to improve services, but many organizations refer to these efforts as initiatives–if you have suggestions let me know) because I think it is important to the success of trauma informed care in many of our systems. What I mean when I say “initiative mapping” is finding ways to talk about how the multiple initiatives/approaches within a system intersect, connect, or collide.

For example, if your program is implementing an equity lens will this cover TIC principles? Or, if you are applying TIC principles will this include principles of equity? If you are implementing collaborative problem solving do you also need to do TIC?

Many organizations utilize several approaches (collaborative problem solving, motivational interviewing, equity, anti-oppressive practice, client centered, etc.) and if you ever have time to reflect about what each of these approaches offers, you may see how they both overlap and bring unique perspectives.

I think we haven’t always done a good job of mapping out these connections. When we fail at connecting different approaches, TIC can be seen as a burden or “something else I have to do,” but if we succeed in making connections it is seen as something you are already doing, a way to make the work more effective, or providing the “why” to what is working. For example, I believe that trauma informed care and equity work intersect while bringing a unique understanding. To do one without the other is insufficient. If you are involved in equity work then TIC can be woven into that effort (though if you are doing this well it probably already is). If you are embarking on trauma informed care work you will need to make sure equity is attended to throughout the process. TIO is working with others to put together possible visuals or products that can help articulate these intersections.

It’s Not Always Called Trauma Informed Care

This brings me to the focus of our latest newsletter: It’s not always called Trauma Informed Care. As I travel around Oregon it is not uncommon for folks to tell me they are not sure if they are doing trauma informed care and then I hear about free wellness screenings, community gardens, staff walks, or community art projects. Practices and events that promote connections, self-efficacy and mastery, self-reflection, safety, transparency, and peer support are aligned with the principles of trauma informed care.

Many practices are trauma informed but haven’t been called that because they were happening long before the term trauma informed care existed and/or are called something else such as procedural fairness or resiliency. For example, a community garden supports trauma informed care efforts by providing opportunities for connection to others and mastery both needed to build resilience as well as provide a basic need of food.

I don’t believe we all need to do the same model, practice, or call it TIC. The recent tragedy on the MAX train in Portland, as well as tragedies that we know often go unseen throughout our state, underscores the value of the work that many of you are already doing to build resilient communities–preventing adversity, promoting restoration and healing, and responding creatively–for all individuals. We need to acknowledge existing services that fit the principles of trauma informed care so we can support current efforts and partner to address gap areas. In our latest newsletter, you will hear about poverty, scarcity, resilience, hope, and nutrition; all are examples of trauma informed care.

Please see this blog from July 2016 and this community tragedy response page for resources on community tragedies that we’ve shared in the past. Please let us know if there are resources that you would like to share – info@traumainformedoregon.