National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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An estimated 60 percent of adults in the United States have experienced an adverse life event at least once in their lives, which contributes to persisting physical health, mental health and addiction problems. A trauma-informed approach equips providers with methods, tools and resources enabling them to effectively partner with patients and staff to achieve individual and community health and wellness.

Earlier this year, to help primary care address the impacts of trauma, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, with the support of Kaiser Permanente, launched a three-year initiative, Trauma-Informed Primary Care: Fostering Resilience and Recovery.

“Trauma work is not new to the National Council. With effects across the lifespan, we’ve spent the last decade implementing trauma-informed approaches within behavioral health organizations. Now it’s time to transition that work to primary care,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. “This project offers strategies primary care providers can implement to improve the overall health of individuals with histories of trauma.”

Over the next 14 months, seven primary care organizations will work with National Council experts to pilot resources, tools and processes, developed by a multidisciplinary team of health care stakeholders, designed to guide the planning, implementation and evaluation of a trauma-informed approach in primary care.

The selected participants are:

  • Malama I Ke Ola – Wailuku, Hawaii
  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless – Denver, Colo.
  • Richmond Behavioral Health Authority – Richmond, Va.
  • Zufall Health Center – Dover, N.J.
  • Peninsula Community Health Services – Bremerton, Wash.
  • Oregon Health & Science University, Family Medicine at Richmond Clinic – Portland, Ore.
  • Willamette Family, Inc. – Eugene, Ore.

The Practice Transformation Team

In July 2017, the National Council convened a multidisciplinary group of 11 health care stakeholders, who serve as the Practice Transformation Team for this initiative. Over the next few months, the team will develop a model for primary care providers and their behavioral health partners to effectively support patients impacted by trauma.

The process for implementing trauma-informed approaches in primary care, developed by the Practice Transformation Team, will focus on recommendations for standardized screening and assessment tools, evidence-based clinical interventions, implementation processes, relevant and replicable outcome measures and potential critical policy changes. Primary care organizations who adopt these efforts will contribute to the advancement of primary care and behavioral health integration and achievement of the Triple Aim: improving care, health and costs.

The 11 Practice Transformation Team participants include:

Photo of Chair: Glenda Wrenn, MD
Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity
Photo of Roger Fallot, Ph.D
Former Director of Research and Evaluation
Community Connections
Photo of Susan Briner, MD
Former Medical Director
Center for Youth Wellness

Photo of Pamela Jacobs, Ph.D
Adult Mental Health Director
Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc.
Photo of Tracy Knight, LICSW
Social Services Director
Bread for the City
Photo of Virna Little, Psy. D, LCSW-r, MBA, CCM, SAP
Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives
Center for Mental Health Innovations, School of Public Health, City University of New York

Photo of Edward Machtinger, MD
Professor of Medicine and Director of the Women’s HIV Program
The University of California, San Francisco
Photo of Brigid McCaw, MD, MPH, MS, FACP
Medical Director, Northern California Family Violence Prevention
Kaiser Permanente
Photo of Arabella Perez, LCSW
Assistant Clinical Professor
University of New England

Photo of Suganya Sockalingam, Ph.D
Founding Partner/CEO
Change Matrix, LLC
Photo of Sharon Wise, MHS
The House of Sharon


2015-16 Trauma-informed Primary Care Learning Community

Prior to launching the Trauma-Informed Primary Care: Fostering Resilience and Recovery initiative, the National Council implemented the Trauma-informed Primary Care Initiative, from June 2015 to March 2016. This initiative included a learning community of 14 primary care organizations.

Read more about the initiative in the Oct. 25, 2017 issue of Mental Health Weekly.

In the span of just a few months, a number of trauma-related incidents have occurred in this country — wildfires, hurricanes and mass shootings among them. Additionally, an estimated 60 percent of adults in the United States have experienced an adverse life event at least once in their lives, according to research pointed out by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.