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Trauma-informed Primary Care: Fostering Resilience and Recovery

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.

The urgency to advance a trauma-informed approach within the primary care setting is widely acknowledged across the health care field. For individuals impacted by trauma, the common stresses inherent in primary care settings may result in avoidance or overuse of health services and poor management of health conditions. Additionally, the workforce is stressed striving to meet the increasing needs of the patients impacted by individual and community trauma in a high-demand, high-volume environment.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is leading the three-year initiative, Trauma-informed Primary Care: Fostering Resilience and Recovery, to educate health care providers on trauma-informed approaches and their importance in the primary care setting.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to announce that 7 organizations have been selected to participate in the Trauma-informed Primary Care Learning Community.

The Trauma-informed Primary Care initiative is supported by Kaiser Permanente.

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:

Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity

Former Medical Director
Center for Youth Wellness

Former Director of Research and Evaluation
Community Connections

Adult Mental Health Director
Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc.

Social Services Director
Bread for the City

Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives
Center for Mental Health Innovations, School of Public Health, City University of New York

Professor of Medicine and Director of the Women’s HIV Program
The University of California, San Francisco

Medical Director, Northern California Family Violence Prevention
Kaiser Permanente

Assistant Clinical Professor
University of New England

Founding Partner/CEO
Change Matrix, LLC

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 Behavioral Health.


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