November 30, 2016

From Diane Yatchmenoff, Ph.D, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon

Transitions at Trauma Informed Oregon

We are in a period of growth and change at Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO) these days, and I want to share some of our news as we look towards 2017 and beyond.

First, I am very pleased to announce that the Oregon Health Authority has included Trauma Informed Oregon in the budget for 2017-19, so we are assured of the capacity to continue our work into the next biennium. We’re grateful to our state partners for their confidence in TIO, and we are excited about the next steps we can take to support organizations and systems all over Oregon that are embracing the principles and practices of trauma informed care.

Second, I will be stepping down December 31, 2016, as director of TIO. Mandy Davis will be assuming the leadership position. I don’t think this will be a surprise to anybody who has worked with us–between her competence and my gray hair–but we are making it official. I will be around for a bit in 2017 to finish up a few small projects and continue to assist some of our partners, but I will be working towards full retirement by early in the spring. It’s been an honor to help get TIO off the ground and to work with many folks all over Oregon. It’s the right time for me to go, and I know I’m leaving the work at a good juncture and in great hands.

Other Staff Changes

As I transition out, we are also welcoming Ana Hristic, LCSW, to the team. Ana is a graduate of the master’s program at the School of Social Work here at Portland State University (PSU) and has been instrumental from the beginning in the trauma informed care initiative at Clackamas Behavioral Health Centers (CBHC), most recently serving as their Quality Assurance Manager. Ana will be helping with training, education, and technical assistance efforts.

Many of you have worked with Lee Ann Phillips, the point person for anyone seeking information or assistance from our team and the prime mover in coordinating events, training, and other activities.  Lee Ann’s role has grown. She is now providing staff support to the Oregon Trauma Advocates Coalition (OTAC, a youth-led advisory group) and working with Beckie Child to develop and disseminate training and resources to support peers (as well as continuing to keep track of the rest of us and the overall work of TIO).

Camilla Pettle, who has been part-time with TIO as an Office Specialist, will be moving to full time. We’re very lucky to have her and glad not to split her time with other projects.

Two new MSW interns, Erin Taylor and Jemila Hart, are with us this year and we’re delighted to be adding the rich diversity of background, interest, and knowledge they bring. Another student, Isha Charlie-McNeeley, has joined us as an intern and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA). Finally, we are pleased to welcome Kelly Myers to the project. Kelly is a first year PhD student with a background in trauma studies and clinical work. Kelly will serve as a GRA at TIO to help with the pilot projects, evaluation, and resource development.

What Happens and What Difference Does it Make?

One of the ways we hope to support implementation efforts around the state is by documenting and sharing the process, results, and outcomes of some of the work underway. Common themes show up–even across different service settings–with respect to the challenges in the work as well as what helps organizations move forward in spite of those challenges, and we think those are worth noting.

We also believe that documentation of what happens, what results are achieved, and what impact trauma informed care (TIC) has is critical to the longer term goals of system transformation.

Several partners around the state have volunteered to serve as “demonstration sites” for us. These organizations are at different stages in the work and there is no implication that they are further along than others or have “got it right” or have more expertise than others. However, they are committed to the initiative and have been willing to let us observe, ask questions and document what we learn.

This month we are pleased to offer the results of our first demonstration partnership at CBHC, where there has been a sustained effort since 2012 to operationalize the principles of trauma informed care. We are grateful to the staff at CBHC, particularly the members of the TIC workgroup, for letting us hang out with them, share their process, read their notes and minutes, ask all kinds of questions, and do our best to write up what we learned. In the process, we created a timeline of the TIC initiative at CBHC, which was fun for us and for them and illustrates some of the bumps on the road to implementation.

Our report on the implementation effort at CBHC is now available as well. In it, we’ve tried to capture the context in which the initiative got underway, the process the implementation team used to assess and plan, the results, and at least the start of how we’re trying to assess what difference it makes.