Trauma-informed care is an approach to the delivery of care that transcends therapeutic models and permeates every facet of care delivery from staff, to therapeutic models, to the environment of care. To be trauma-informed is to have a thorough understanding of the development, symptoms, and impact of trauma through a culturally sensitive lens (SAMHSA, 2014). Trauma-informed care is a way of being, responding, interacting, and approaching others that honors the complex experiences of trauma and avoids re-traumatization. It is a stance that challenges pathologizing, deficit-based language, treatment, and environments and instead promotes growth, hope, understanding, empowerment, safety, and healing.
Given the complex history of trauma and resource deprivation that Appalachian communities have faced, the goal of this panel is to introduce trauma-informed care as a higher quality of care framework that is culturally-attuned with the needs of rural communities. The presenters will introduce and discuss the principals of trauma-informed care, as well as practical strategies for implementing trauma-informed care in rural community health settings. The presenters will discuss and connect each of the six principles of trauma-informed care to the unique trauma and cultural characteristics of Appalachia. The presenters will facilitate a collaborative discussion with participants on the benefits of implementing trauma-informed care specifically in rural and Appalachian communities, and problem solve participant-identified potential barriers to implementation. The presenters will share first-hand professional experience on integrating trauma-informed practices and principles in two healthcare settings serving consumers with Medicaid. Participants can expect to have a better understanding of trauma-informed care and will have strategies to begin incorporating trauma-informed principles and clinical practices in the rural communities that they serve.