Maximize and support relationships between hospitals, public
health departments and other stakeholders. Through quality
improvement pilot projects addressing clinical care,
organizational change and community engagement strategies, CLC
will focus on improving birth outcomes, diabetes prevention,
homelessness and behavioral health. As projects move from the
pilot to implementation phase, CLC can assist with replicating
projects proven to have community health impact. Current projects
Huntington Hospital is partnering with its Pasadena
neighbors—Young & Healthy and the Pasadena Unified School
District—to spearhead Trauma-Informed Care, a program designed to
address the impact trauma (both physical and emotional) has on
the community’s well-being and healthcare in general.
Trauma-Informed Care is an approach that involves understanding,
recognizing and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.
It emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional safety for
both patients and providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense
of control and empowerment.
Funded by the UniHealth Foundation through a multi-year grant,
the Pasadena program is in its infancy, but early results are
most promising. And all entities are committed to making it a
“This initiative seeks to reduce the prevalence of trauma in our
community,” said Lori J. Morgan, MD, Huntington Hospital CEO.
“Emotional trauma is increasingly recognized as a healthcare
epidemic. Nearly 20% of all Americans have suffered levels of
trauma that place them at higher risk for a large array of health
problems ranging from severe obesity to heart disease to
depression to suicide. A trauma-informed approach involves
understanding how traumatic experiences and stress impact our
patients, which enables us to respond appropriately and
To date, Huntington has trained 3,400 employees and 200
physicians in all aspects of Trauma-Informed Care. It has become
mandatory training for staff and part of orientation for all new
hires. According to Cathi Chadwell, Executive Director of
Philanthropy at Huntington Hospital, Trauma-Informed training
began with the emergency room staff and has since become part of
the workplace fabric. “This program is transforming the way we
deliver heartfelt, compassionate care to our patients and their
families,” Chadwell added.
The hospital’s medical staff, as well as community physicians,
receive information about emotional trauma’s impacts on physical
health, and how to strengthen care for patients who have
“This program is a tool for the hospital’s staff to understand a
patient’s needs—particularly difficult and upset ones,” said
Debora Jackson, the hospital’s Patient Relations and Customer
Service Manager. “The staff training is impactful. We now have a
better understanding of why some patients act the way they do and
can treat them more appropriately.”
The school district plays a vital role in the success of
Trauma-Informed Care. According to Ann Rector, Director of Health
Programs with PUSD, all teachers and staff are being trained
through a program entitled SCHOOL (Smiling Calm Hearts Open Our
Learning) Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Training. She said the
students’ world is changing rapidly due to social media postings
that can be traumatic. In all, 27 schools have had training
sessions for more than 600 teachers and support staff including
nurses and psychologists.
“Bringing Trauma-Informed Care to the schools has helped us forge
new pathways,” said Rector. “Many of our students come to school
with challenges ranging from poverty to immigration issues.
That’s a challenge for the teachers—helping students who have
encountered trauma for most of their lives. Teachers need to
provide positivity as opposed to punishment.”
Mary Donnelly-Crocker, Executive Director of Young & Healthy, a
Pasadena non-profit agency that provides care for underserved
children, agreed. She said that for many students acts of
defiance are actually acts of self-preservation due to the
traumas they have encountered. She also believes early childhood
stress is an indicator of future outcomes and sees the schools as
a key component in the program’s success.
“Aside from the home, children spend most of their time with
their teachers,” Donnelly-Crocker said. “We need to shift the
attitudes of teachers, and the school district is doing a
terrific job of that. We need to forge new methodologies through
the schools and pay attention to trouble signs. We need to lose
the thought of what’s wrong with this child, and replace it with
happened to them in their lives to cause them to act this way.”
Through their efforts in implementing Trauma-Informed Care, the
three organizations are working closely together to make the
Pasadena community stronger and emotionally healthier.
For additional information about Communities Lifting Communities,
contact Karen Ochoa, CLC Project Manager, at (213) 538-0765 or
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