October 26, 2015

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

Standards of Practice for Trauma Informed Care are now available

We are pleased to offer to our partners and stakeholders the Standards of Practice for Trauma Informed Care developed at Trauma Informed Oregon based on nationally recognized principles and in alignment with the guidance documents provided by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the federal government. The Trauma Informed Oregon Standards were drafted by a workgroup of the Collaborative and piloted by partners in mental health, addictions, housing, juvenile justice and other systems. The Standards are intended to assist agencies in reviewing their progress, highlighting achievements, and planning for continued improvement. If you are trying out the Standards, please be sure to carefully read the Guidelines, as they contain important information about the purpose, use and limitations of the tool. Over this next year, we will be asking partners around the state to share examples of how their agencies are addressing some of these areas of trauma informed care and practice. To download the Standards of Practice click here.

Supporting the new OHA trauma policy

The new OHA trauma policy from the behavioral health section (formerly AMH) of the Health Systems Division applies to all Community Mental Health Programs (CMHPs), subcontracted providers of CMHPs and other entities receiving behavioral health funding either directly or indirectly through Medicaid or state general funds. The policy was approved in 2014 and went into effect on July 1, 2015.

Trauma Informed Oregon has been pleased to help plan the rollout of the policy in a way that we believe will be meaningful but also supportive and realistic for our partners around the state. The Standards of Practice may help agencies demonstrate adherence to provisions of the policy, and TIO will continue to develop and disseminate additional resources to assist with implementation. An initial communication about the rollout went out from OHA to providers this month. Future communications will provide more information about timelines, resources and requirements.

Educating the next generation of the workforce

As we continue to focus attention on helping existing systems of care respond more effectively to the prevalence and impact of trauma, we know that sustained change in how services are delivered also depends on how we educate individuals coming out of higher education and entering careers in healthcare, social work, education, law enforcement, and other fields.

This past year, Trauma Informed Oregon conducted an initial review of content related to psychological trauma offered at Oregon colleges and universities. The review was based on information available in course catalogs and websites and was completed in June of 2015. This initial review excluded healthcare education, for which a similar report is forthcoming.

We found trauma-related courses in criminal justice, psychology, education, counseling, human services and other departments, including social work. Findings were necessarily skewed by the location of institutions and the distribution of programs. For example, we found a concentration of trauma-related courses in the metro area, with parts of the state where very little is available. Social Work offered fewer courses, but there are limited social work programs in the state, with the largest at Portland State University (PSU). PSU also offers a comprehensive curriculum for current professionals, leading to a certificate in trauma informed care.


Portland. Sponsored by Project Launch and the Oregon Pediatric Society, more than 80 partners from multiple systems serving children and families attended a working meeting on September 10th in Portland, focused on emerging practices in schools, healthcare, foster care, and community-based services. Panelists included:

  • John Stirling, MD, Director – Center for Child Protection, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  • Terry Ellis, LCSW, Clinical Director – Youth and Family Services, Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA)
  • Wendy Wilson, Principal – John Ettinger Elementary School
  • Erin Fairchild, Director – Defending Childhood Initiative
  • Lisa Butler, Regional Director – Oregon Family Support Network
  • Maggie Bennington-Davis MD, MMM, Chief Medical Officer – Health Share of Oregon

Following brief presentations from the panel, participants joined interest groups related to the topic areas to share information and exchange ideas about effective practices and systems change efforts.

Salem. We had a packed house at Broadway Commons on September 18th at a kickoff training for behavioral health providers who serve adults in community based and residential programs. Mandy Davis conducted the training, with a welcome from Nicole Corbin, Adult Behavioral Health Service Manager,  Health Systems (formerly AMH and MAP). Trauma Informed Oregon staff met earlier in the month with patients at the Oregon State Hospital who gave their time in a series of listening sessions to help us better understand personal experience with the adult mental health service system. We will be reaching out soon to the state-wide advisory and advocacy groups, with presentations scheduled at the Oregon Consumer Advisory Council on October 28 and the Addictions and Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council (AMHPAC) on November 12.

La Pine. On October 3rd, Stephanie Sundborg from Trauma Informed Oregon, and Dr. Teri Pettersen from Oregon Pediatric Society, co-trained the healthcare providers and staff from the La Pine Community Health Clinic. Participants included the La Pine clinic staff, as well as those from the associated School Based Health Centers and the new Christmas Valley Clinic. There was 100% staff attendance at the Saturday event, which also served as the kickoff to our joint pilot project aimed at implementing trauma informed practice in the clinic settings. We are extremely pleased to be partnering with the La Pine community on this efforts.

Seaside. Our second trip to Seaside on October 5th included a presentation from Laura Porter of ACE Interface and an opportunity for local providers and stakeholders to consider how to prevent or reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences in their community. Laura posed the question in a powerful way: “If you were using this (brain) science to make big improvements to health and safety in your community, what would you like to be doing?” We are compiling the ideas and reflections this question generated and will send them out soon to participants.