We have just concluded the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Trauma Training Conference held July 23-25. Over 500 professionals and caregivers gathered to experience a variety of presenters, keynote speakers and interdisciplinary discussion sessions. In the conclusion, we were able to revisit the conference together.
We acknowledged many professionals began with Basic Trauma 101 training that was contextualized to their specific vocational discipline. After this basic training, there were inter-professional sessions in which different disciplines could come together to discuss specific ways they could meet the needs of identified individuals in case studies.
Although the dialogue was productive, some of the problems of working with others in the field of trauma recovery became apparent. These realities tell us how important it is to create these types of forums so that professionals in our systems can have a common language and approach to dealing with traumatized individuals.
We reflected on our two keynote speakers.
Dr. Lee Mun Wah very creatively taught us how important it is to be conscious of the things we do not recognize that may violate basic human dignity. He helped us to hear the perspectives of others and created an urgency for us to observe, speak, stand, and be compelled to confront those we fear so that we can live together authentically.
Our other keynote speaker was Dr. Howard Stevenson who gave us incredible insight into racial literacy. He showed us how Face-to-Face encounters can be so powerful in helping us understand each other, grow together and cross the racial divide with resonance and compassion.
Additionally, there were approximately 50 concurrent sessions that involved many aspects of trauma theory, research and approaches to bring healing and hope to those who have been trauma-impacted. The presenters had much to offer us, and the content was rich, powerful, meaningful, and full of possibility.
As difficult and overwhelming as it is to attend such a conference, we believe this type of forum is essential to helping us become a trauma-informed community of practice within the Greater Philadelphia area.
We spent time in this closing session listening to the conference participants give us their perspective on all that happened in their lives. It was heart-gripping, joyful, compelling and challenging. We have so much to do in order to create truly trauma-informed communities of practice.
However, I am convinced that we have made some inroads into many lives this week.
I am confident participants will return to their trauma-impacted worlds with a stronger trauma lens, new approaches to dealing with their clients or co-workers, a sense that they are not alone, and some skills they did not have before the conference began.
I believe the entire planning team felt very gratified at what we saw and heard in our closing day. It has been a great deal of work but with many rewards.
As I closed this conference, I was able to acknowledge how amazing our participants were in who they are and what they do each day. I believe there was such mutual respect and humility in this acceptance of the stewardship of trauma-informed care for those in our sphere of influence.
I do want to thank Jefferson University, Dr. Jeanne Felter, the entire planning team, the many volunteers, and all those who contributed to this impactful day! It was truly inspiring to be with such dedicated and caring trauma professionals and caregivers.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO