As I stated in my last post The Greater Philadelphia Trauma Training Conference: Envisioning Interprofessional Practice to Improve Outcomes for Children, was held last week. Over 400 professionals who are involved with trauma-impacted children and families attended this conference.
It was a privilege to participate with these committed professionals
It was also exceptional to have the opportunity to plan a unique event like this conference, but one point of anxiety was some uncertainty as to how it would be received. However, the distinctiveness of this conference was that the last day was dedicated to bringing the varied professional disciplines together to utilize their training and to discuss specific trauma cases from their differing perspectives.
This style of conference was unprecedented. The idea of trauma-informed systems is still relatively new, but to have the professional interplay of information and dialogue with medical staff, social workers, juvenile justice staff, early childhood educators, and K- to-12 teachers, among other professionals is a world of innovation.
We were extremely curious as to how the dialogue process would be received. As I toured the various discussions, the energy, intensity, sophistication, and comradery was palpable in almost every group I encountered.
I heard justified frustration and anger, too…
…at how our children are often ignored—or at least not treated properly when they clearly evidence being trauma-impacted. There were many comments about how limited in capacity our systems of care were to provide the needed services of our children and families. There was also collaborative blending of wisdom that gave insight to each case study described. New ideas emerged about a wide range of healing options for our children, and the stories about what happens to so many cases were incredible.
Probably the most powerful opinions and compelling thoughts were that this type of interprofessional dialogue and conference must continue. The conversations arising from the conference are not the kind we can afford to do once and then move on. If we are going to provide effective systems of care for trauma-impacted individuals, we must bring every professional who touches a child or family together, make sure they have the knowledge and skills to help traumatized children with a proven common language and approach that will best facilitate healing and hope. This was probably one of the most hopeful aspects of this conference.
The professionals united in agreement that this process must continue, as we must be intentional to work together to care for our children. For me, it was both exciting and gratifying to experience such a dynamic and powerful force of professionals so passionate to be better caregivers.
I do want to thank Jefferson University, the Planning Committee, the volunteers, the presenters, and so many others who worked diligently to make this conference possible.
This positive consequences of this unique experience were so many good outcomes. We were challenged and received much to think about for future conferences.
I really would like to see this type of conference replicated across our systems of care for children all across the country. It could be the inception of a critical movement to offer hope to children and families who have experienced some very hard realities of life.
Finally, we were privileged to have Dr. Sandy Bloom conclude the conference with a comprehensive presentation of how we have come to understand the impact of trauma, how our systems have responded and what we need to be doing next.
Truly, we have a long way to go, but in Greater Philadelphia, we have launched the momentum that I think will be the catalyst for growth and development among our professionals and ultimately will benefit our children.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside