Hamilton, NJ, December 10, 2015 – The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announces the launch of Advancing Trauma-Informed Care, a national initiative aimed at understanding how health care settings can implement trauma-informed approaches to improve patient outcomes and decrease costs. The multi-site pilot demonstration is made possible through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Exposure to trauma — including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; neglect; discrimination; and violence — increases an individual’s long-term risk of serious physical and behavioral health problems, often leading to costly health care utilization. Adopting trauma-informed approaches to care can potentially improve patient engagement, enhance health outcomes, and reduce avoidable care utilization and excess costs in both the health care and social service systems.

“Health care providers and policymakers are increasingly aware of the harmful consequences of trauma, yet strategies for best serving patients with a trauma history are not clear,” said Allison Hamblin, vice president of strategic planning at CHCS. “Advancing Trauma-Informed Care will work with innovators across the nation to help foster and spread promising practices for addressing trauma with the goal of improving outcomes and reducing unnecessary health care costs.”

Six competitively selected pilot sites — representing a range of delivery systems and populations — will each receive funding support and participate in a two-year learning collaborative where they will vet new approaches, exchange best practices, and advance practical strategies for implementing trauma-informed care. The pilots will test the potential of trauma-informed approaches to improve patient outcomes, decrease costs, and increase staff resiliency. The pilot sites are:

“Exposure to violence and trauma is a serious and costly public health and health care concern that extends over the lifespan,” said Tara Oakman, PhD, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “These innovative pilots will support a Culture of Health by shifting the conversation in the health care setting from “What is wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?”

Over two years, the pilot sites will test and enhance key clinical and organizational ingredients for a trauma-informed approach to care, guided by input from the learning collaborative and a national advisory committee and technical assistance from CHCS. A publicly available online toolbox will share emerging best practices and case studies from the pilot sites. Look for upcoming resources and technical assistance tools at www.chcs.org.