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Changing how a community responds to trauma

It’s easy to understand how being trauma-informed – approaching people with the compassionate knowledge that they may have had a traumatic experience – is important to the work of an emergency room nurse. It also makes a big difference in everyday interactions among coworkers, family members and even strangers.

Now entering its third year as part of a citywide effort to build a more resilient community, the Institute for Trauma-Informed Care at University Health is helping to train dozens of organizations that have reached out to become trauma-informed care (TIC) certified.

Anyone can learn more about being trauma-informed this month through a series of community and learning events. The institute has partnered with organizations around the San Antonio area to provide more than 50 different free trainings, events and film screenings for the public to learn more about TIC. The calendar is posted on University Health’s website.

One organization that has committed to becoming certified is Village Medical, under the leadership of Dr. Ramon Reyes, its chief medical director. Dr. Reyes’ team is working closely with the institute because they view being trauma-informed as “helping staff, as well as patients,” says Vanessa Romero, behavioral health consultant for the medical group.

The medical group is training their entire organization; from the front office team to the back office administrators, nurses and physicians. Romero says that they have already noticed a change in the way the team interacts with patients.

“When you connect with people using the trauma-informed model, it helps build relationships and instills trust,” Romero said. “We are being purposeful to see each patient and staff member as an individual with their own unique experiences, which helps us better care for each other with compassion and empathy.”

The South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium is a collaboration that includes the City of San Antonio Metro Health, Voices for Children, The Children’s Shelter, University Health and the Ecumenical Center, which is the certifying entity for organizations that have completed their TIC training.

University Health’s executive director at the Institute for Trauma-Informed Care, Belinda Garcia-Rattenbury, explained, “Trauma-informed care is not only important for mental health and behavioral service organizations, but is important for business and administrative organizations as well. The entire community will benefit when we build a more resilient Bexar County.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Andrea Wazir, University Health senior public relations specialist at 512-762-0457.

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