Health policymakers and practitioners increasingly recognize trauma as an important factor that influences health throughout the lifespan. By incorporating trauma-informed approaches to care across health care systems, health care professionals can more effectively care for patients and support efforts to improve health outcomes, reduce avoidable hospital utilization, and curb excess costs.

This 90-minute webinar highlighted strategies for implementing trauma-informed organizational practices across large health systems. Dr. Ken Epstein of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), described the agency’s Trauma-Informed Systems initiative and its goal to transform SFDPH into a healing organization – for both clients and staff. Dr. Rahil Briggs of the Montefiore Medical Group in the Bronx, NY, discussed the organization’s trauma-informed care implementation efforts in its 22-site outpatient network.

The webinar series, made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a product of Advancing Trauma-Informed Care, a national initiative aimed at understanding how trauma-informed approaches can be practically implemented across the health care sector.


I. Introduction

Speaker: Christopher Menschner, Senior Program Officer, CHCS

Mr. Menschner welcomed participants and provided an overview of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma, the impact of ACEs/trauma on health, and the value of embedding a focus on trauma-informed care within an organization’s culture and practices.

II. Building a Trauma-Informed Organizational Culture

Speaker: Ken Epstein, PhD, LCSW, Director, Child, Youth, and Family System of Care, San Francisco Department of Public Health

Dr. Epstein described SFDPH’s Trauma-Informed Systems initiative and its goal to transform SFDPH into a healing organization. He outlined their model, strategies for disseminating trauma-informed principles throughout the organization, lessons from supporting organizational culture change, and plans for sustaining SFDPH’s trauma-focused efforts.

III. Implementing Trauma-Informed Care Across a Health System

Speaker: Rahil Briggs, PsyD, Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services at Montefiore Medical Group

Dr. Briggs discussed strategies for addressing trauma throughout a health system based on experiences scaling a trauma-informed care framework across Montefiore Medical Group in the Bronx, NY. She highlighted Montefiore’s approach to implementing universal ACEs screening, a system-wide learning collaborative on trauma-informed care, and a newly created Critical Incident Management Team that provides support to staff following any traumatic incident.