CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger
View the full calendar of events. All events are free to the public.
SAN ANTONIO (May 11, 2021) — In recognition of Trauma-Informed Care Awareness Month, South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium today launched a series of summer events to support increased trauma-informed practice in San Antonio. More than a year after COVID-19 arrived in the San Antonio community, the collective weight of the shared trauma of the pandemic is beginning to be measured. Half of Bexar County residents reported that the pandemic negatively affected their mental health according to a Bexar Facts poll. Unaddressed trauma in children causes pain today and poor health in the future.
San Antonio Metro Health will host four months of community education activities beginning in June 2021 through the Summer of Resilience initiative. Organized around the Raising of America documentary. Panel discussions, parenting classes, and Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Interface training will be available to the community. Reducing trauma and recognizing the influence of childhood trauma on adult violence and health status have been identified by the CDC as crucial strategies for improving the nation's health.
"Unaddressed trauma is a hidden, pervasive influence on the health of our community," said Dr. Colleen Bridger, Assistant City Manager. “The work of the South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium to educate organizations and individuals on preventing trauma and building resilience is transformative for the health of our community."
The South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium's work leads the way towards developing a certified trauma-informed Bexar County and is led by three chairs: Dr. Colleen Bridger, City of San Antonio, Dr. Kathy Fletcher, Voices for Children, and Yvette Sanchez, The Children's Shelter. The Consortium was instrumental in the creation of the Institute for Trauma Informed Care at University Health and the Trauma Informed Care Certifying Entity at the Ecumenical Center. Together these three organizations will help inform the community about the importance of trauma informed approaches, provide technical assistance on implementing trauma informed practices and certify an organization has successfully implemented those practices.
“Every one of us started life as a beautiful baby. As we see the serious issues and challenges of some children and adults years later, we have to ask—what happened to that baby, to that child? The first three to four years of a child’s life is the time of the most rapid brain development—and the years when Adverse Childhood Experiences—trauma—have the greatest negative impact. But these are also the years of the greatest opportunity for that developing brain to re-wire itself—to heal,” says Dr. Kathy Fletcher, Executive Director of Voices for Children. “What it takes is a consistent relationship with a caring, nurturing adult, even just one. Our responsibility as adults and as a community is to protect that baby and young child and to ensure that if trauma cannot be prevented—and sometimes as we are seeing with COVID, it can’t—that we surround that child with support to heal and grow up healthy. It can make a difference for a lifetime.”
Any organization or business, not just those dealing with traumatic issues, can become TIC-certified.
As one of the three core STTICC agencies, University Health leads the Institute for Trauma-Informed Care, which provides training in trauma-informed practices and prepares entities for certification in trauma-informed care.
“University Health is committed to implementing the framework of trauma-informed care and to promoting this approach in our community,” said Dr. Bryan Alsip, University Health Chief Medical Officer. “We are advancing the work of the South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium with training and education programs through our Institute, and also within our own organization, where we have created a trauma-informed care program for organizational change that supports patients and staff members.”
The Institute is offering a series of learning and training events throughout the month of May, the majority of which are free. They include classes on tools for healing trauma, trauma-focused behavioral cognitive therapy, and an explanation of University Health’s own internal TIC journey that other organizations can attend. All classes are virtual.
The Ecumenical Center is the host to the TIC certifying entity and as such is developing benchmarks and setting standards to ensure the highest level of adherence to trauma informed approaches in all interactions with the community. The three pilot organizations are working on completing Level 1 Trauma-Informed Certification will complete their certification process. Once the pilot is complete, The Ecumenical Center will begin certifying the 35 organizations on the waiting list to complete Trauma-Informed Care Certification.
“Certification for trauma-informed care creates a common language for all entities involved,” said Mary Beth Fisk, Executive Director/CEO, The Ecumenical Center. As the Certifying Body, The Ecumenical Center has established the standards, domains, guidance documents, and prepared the certification materials. The Center provides consultation and guidance for each organization preparing to be certified.”
Organizations interested in learning more about becoming certified in TIC can contact The Ecumenical Center at 210-616-0885
“We at Methodist Healthcare Ministries are really fortunate to work alongside the South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium, and incredible partners across the 74 counties we serve, to increase trauma-informed practices because we know how transformative it is,” says Jaime Wesolowski, President & CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. “So much so, that not only have we increased the funding we have provided to The Ecumenical Center to support their efforts at becoming a Trauma Informed Care Certifying Entity—which will enhance the delivery of care for everyone in our community—but we have also started our own journey towards becoming Level I certified because we know it will enhance the relationships we build with the patients and clients we see in our own clinics and ultimately, improve their health outcomes.”