The BUILD Health Challenge® teamed up with our technical assistance provider, ChangeLab Solutions, to host a special webinar last month focused on Reaching Communities with Trauma-Informed Approaches.

For many of you on the front lines of justice, health, and social change efforts, the pandemic and numerous other current events, have created a never ending world of uncertainty, stress, and pressure. And while there are naturally occurring daily stressors present in all of our lives, the current environment and levels of chronic stress we are facing now, unique to our roles supporting communities, is taking a toll unlike anything most of us have ever faced before. For some this may manifest itself as fatigue, the inability to focus, anger, sadness, and a sense of burn out. This trauma must be named, acknowledged, and addressed, if we as changemakers are going to learn from and cope with its impact on us as individuals and its influence on our efforts in communities more broadly.

We’ve invited three leaders in trauma-informed approaches to help us better understand trauma, and suggest ideas, tools, and practices for addressing trauma. Special thanks to Phebe Gibson, of ChangeLab Solutions who moderated the conversation. (More information about the speakers is included below.)

Highlights include:

Trauma Informed Mindfulness Practices (6:30 to 12:30) – Viewers are invited to join in a few minutes of a guided practice on mindfulness. Listeners will gain insight into how mindfulness exercises and purposeful reflections can inform and help with trauma informed approaches in your own life and work.

Trauma Informed Organizational and Systems Transformation (27:00 to 37:15) – Review several different frameworks for organizations looking for models and assessments they can apply to cultivate trauma-informed policies and practices. This section of the session also discusses key ingredients for trauma-informed care including feedback, transparency, and staff roles.

Trauma Informed Community Building (53:00 to 1:17) – Here, we explore the stages of healing historic trauma and how new practices can be created within these stages. Viewers will better understand the perspective of how systems in a community (e.g., economic opportunities, social infrastructure, community safety, etc.) inform trauma rather than say individual behavior or community deficits.

Speakers featured in this session include (in order of their appearance):

  • Phebe Gibson is the community solutions manager at ChangeLab Solutions, where she works with organizations across the country on improving health and advancing equity through policy change. She manages the team of technical assistance providers at ChangeLab Solutions that is supporting BUILD 3.0 awardees.
  • Jonathan Relucio facilitates transformation in social justice movements with Rockwood Leadership Institute, and integrates trauma-informed mindfulness with restorative circles for healing and racial equity as co-founder of Mr. Relucio guided participants through a brief mindfulness practice, discussed the health effects of trauma, and highlighted practices to address trauma and build resilience.
  • Lara Altman is the former Director of the Illinois ACE’s Response Collaborative, a cross-sector network that works to prevent trauma and promote thriving across the lifespan. Ms. Altman discussed building system-wide practices, and highlight examples from hospital and health system partnerships.
  • Damon Harris, Vice President of Community Development at BRIDGE Housing Corporation, addressed the impact of community trauma on traditional community building strategies, and highlighted the Trauma Informed Community Building model that emerged from BRIDGE’s work in San Francisco.