College of

Building a Trauma-Informed Community

What is a "trauma-informed community?"

A trauma-informed community understands, recognizes and responds to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma-informed communities emphasize physical, psychological and emotional safety for providers and for patients,and help all involved rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. Understanding the impact of trauma is an important first step in becoming a compassionate and supportive community.

Why us? Why now?

Faculty and staff in the health colleges and MSU Healthcare have been affected by the Nassar tragedy and by the efforts to address it. Grief and guilt are common reactions. The College of Human Medicine Workgroup On Vulnerable Populations, led by Drs. Claudia Finkelstein and Jennifer Johnson, wanted to do something to help strengthen and support faculty and staff, so that we can take better care of our patients, our students and each other.   

The effort has several components, two of which are described below.

Small group discussions on our experiences

Faculty and staff come together with the goal to discuss experiences related to the Nassar tragedy and its aftermath: What has it been like? What has been helpful or unhelpful in dealing with it? How can we be more trauma-informed in interacting with each other?

Small group reflections are 90-120 minute sessions open to all faculty and staff in the Colleges of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing, as well as MSU Healthcare.

Register for an upcoming small group discussion

Speaker Series

The speaker series is open to all. Please join us!

Click here to see upcoming events

Principles of Being Trauma-Informed

  1. Safety
  2. Maintaining trustworthiness and transparency
  3. Using peer support
  4. Supporting collaboration and mutuality
  5. Promoting empowerment, voice, and choice
  6. Acknowledging culture, historical, and gender-related issues.

Trauma-informed initiatives

  • Realize the widespread trauma impact and potential recovery
  • Recognize trauma signs and symptoms
  • Respond by integrating trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
  • Seek to actively resist re-traumatization.

How can communities be trauma-informed?

  • Get involved.
  • Listen to learn, and respect other people and their views. Value the experiences other people have, even if they are not your own.
  • Remember many people experience the same event differently. We don’t have to judge each other – just respect each other.
  • Shift our views from “What’s wrong with you?” to “what happened to you?” We all experience major events, sometimes individually and sometimes together. For some, these are traumatic events. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.

Information provided by Dr. Vicki Johnson-Lawrence and the Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) team