News Archive

Samantha Koury Receives Ken Dunning Trauma-Informed Care Award

Samantha Koury pictured with two other individuals, one male and one female, from the NYS Department of Health. Samantha is holding the plaque for the Ken Dunning Trauma-Informed Care Award that she received.

12/31/18: Samantha Koury and Research Professor Tom Nochajski attended the 2018 World AIDS Day Ending the Epidemic Summit in Albany, NY. Samantha was presented with the Ken Dunning Trauma-Informed Care Award, a NYS Department of Health Commissioner's Special Recognition Award, for her dedication, contribution and commitment to improving and promoting the health and well-being of all New Yorkers.

ITTIC Hosts Graduation for Advanced Champions and Second Cohort Champions in the WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion Team

12/7/18: The second cohort of the WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion Team and Advanced Champions from the first cohort graduated today at Hospice Buffalo's Education Center. Both teams had the opportunity to share the work that was done during the collaborative period with each other and leadership who attended the event. The upcoming trauma-informed care resource repository was also showcased, which is scheduled to be released in January 2019. The graduation event closed with an invitation to all Champions to be a part of a vision meeting to plan the future goals of the Trauma Informed Community Initiative of WNY.

ITTIC Begins Champion Learning Collaborative in Cattaraugus County

Sue Green presenting at Cattaraugus County Learning Collaborative training
Participants at the Cattaraugus County Champion Learning Collaborative completing an activity.

11/14/18: ITTIC is collaborating with the Salamanca School District to deliver the champion learning collaborative training model. Twenty five champions from nine agencies/organizations across Cattaraugus County participated in the kick-off training of this initiative. Similar to other learning collaboratives ITTIC has delivered, champions were trained in trauma/adversity, re-traumatization, steps to creating trauma-informed systems of care, the role of a Champion and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s ten implementation domains. Champions will participate in monthly coaching/consultation sessions in which they will continue to operationalize SAMHSA's ten implementation domains as well as the five values/principles of trauma-informed care.

ITTIC Trains Ken-Ton Middle and High School Teachers

11/6/18: ITTIC trainers delivered a Trauma 101 psychoeducation presentation to all middle and high school teachers in the Ken-Ton school district. The presentation included information on trauma and adversity, re-traumatization and an introduction to the values/principles of trauma-informed educational practices. The teachers will receive follow-up consultation and further education that relates to the implementation of trauma-informed educational practices.

Whitney Mendel Featured in Mount St. Mary's Hospital Newsletter

10/15/18: As part of the Trauma-Informed Care training initiative, Whitney Mendel is providing coaching/consultation sessions to the Care Management Team at Mount St. Mary's hospital. She will be attending morning huddles to provide support, encouragement and information to staff around Trauma-Informed Care. The work ITTIC is doing at the hospital is highlighted in the October issue of the Connections Newsletter.

New Trauma Talks Podcasts (Mental Health)

10/7/18: Lauren discusses her own history of mental health and how her history has influenced the progression of her career. She explains the work she has done in the mental health field and states that she sees her current role as "a bridge between the mental health community and the general population." 

Leah shares her experiences with mental illness, specifically suicide and suicide prevention. Leah is a trainer at the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care; she is passionate about bringing a trauma-informed perspective to youth suicide prevention efforts. She discusses how she has found meaning in her own experiences with intergenerational trauma and mental illness. 

ITTIC Delivers Kick-Off Training for Oswego County Learning Collaborative

ITTIC trainer Samantha Koury delivering content to champions during the Oswego County Learning Collaborative kick-off training

9/28/18: ITTIC delivered a seven-hour kick-off training to all champions in the Oswego County learning collaborative. Champions were trained in trauma/adversity, re-traumatization, steps to creating trauma-informed systems of care, the role of a Champion, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s ten implementation domains. Champions will participate in monthly coaching/consultation sessions in which they will continue to operationalize SAMHSA's ten implementation domains and as well the five values/principles of trauma-informed care.

ITTIC Begins Champion Learning Collaborative in Oswego County

9/24/18: ITTIC is partnering with the Oswego County Health Department to deliver a seven month learning collaborative in Oswego County, in which 30 Champions from 19 different agencies/organizations across the county are participating. The identified champions have completed an online Trauma 101 course and will be having their seven hour kick-off training on 9/28/18. Champions will receive ongoing coaching/consultation from ITTIC staff over the seven month period—putting the Champions in the position to bring the information and resources back to their own agencies/organizations/systems for planning, implementation and sustainability. 

WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion Wrap-Up Training (Second Cohort)

Group photo of WNY Trauma Informed Care Champions (second cohort)

9/7/18: The second cohort of WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champions attended their final wrap-up training at The Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care. From April-September 2018, the 35 champions in this cohort have received training and consultation on trauma/adversity, re-traumatization, advocacy, trauma-informed culture change and SAMHSA's ten implementation domains for trauma-informed care. The champion graduation event for the second cohort will be held on December 7, 2018. 

ITTIC is Featured in Mount St. Mary's Hospital Newsletter

8/31/18: ITTIC's work with Mount St. Mary's Hospital is featured in the August 2018 issue of the Connections Newsletter. The article discusses the framework of trauma-informed care as well as the hospital's efforts to increase staff awareness of trauma/adversity and how to implement trauma-informed care. 

ITTIC Begins Partnership with KidsPeace

8/21/18: From September 2018-February 2019, ITTIC will be partnering with KidsPeace. ITTIC trainers will deliver a Trauma 101 psychoeducation presentation to the staff at KidsPeace which will provide an overview of trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), the impacts of trauma/adversity, re-traumatization and introduce Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and the 5 guiding principles. ITTIC trainers will provide follow-up consultation to help staff further operationalize TIC within their roles. ITTIC will also meet with leadership throughout the project period.

ITTIC Begins Partnership with Cheektowaga Central School District

8/3/18: From August 2018-July 2019, ITTIC will partner with the Cheektowaga Central School District. Specificially, ITTIC will work with the Mental Health Team and implementation planning teams (administrators, teacher/departmental leaders, PPS teams) to provide training, coaching and consultation around Trauma-Informed Educational Practices, trauma-informed organizational planning, and beginning implementation.

New Trauma Talks Podcast

7/27/18: In this podcast, Natasha discusses her experiences of chronic childhood sexual abuse by family members. She explains the experience she had with disclosing the abuse to her teachers in school and the repercussions she faced because of the disclosure. As a result of her own experiences, she highlights the importance of educating adults who interface with children about the signs of childhood abuse and neglect. She also explains how the principles of trauma-informed care influenced her experiences in two different treatment settings. 

ITTIC Facilitates Trauma Support Group in the Community

7/13/18: ITTIC is faciliatating an eight-week trauma support group at a local community agency to assist refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers address the trauma they have experienced. The support group aims to help participants learn safe coping skills in addition to recognizing and managing their experiences of trauma and oppression. The support group combines elements of the evidence-based curriculum Seeking Safety with the creation of mandala art.

ITTIC Begins Partnership with Belmont Housing Resources for WNY

7/1/2018: In the month of July, ITTIC is providing an initial Trauma 101 psychoeducation presentation to 120 staff members at Belmont Housing Resources for WNY. During this presentation, staff members will learn about trauma/adversity and its impact, re-traumatization and how to prevent it at both client and staff levels, and how to begin thinking about how the five guiding values/principles of Trauma-Informed Care—safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment—apply to their individual roles. Additionally, all staff members will participate in a two hour follow-up consultation.

ITTIC Attends Trauma Talks Conference in Toronto

Erin Bascug at Trauma Talks Conference

6/8/18: Samantha Koury, LMSW and Travis Hales, PhD presented a paper entitled The Results of a Trauma-Informed Intervention on Staff and Clients at the Trauma Talks Conference in Toronto. The presentation focused on the influence of implementing trauma-informed care on organizational, staff, and client outcomes.

PhD student Erin Bascug participated in the poster presentations where she presented preliminary data regarding feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a curriculum that ITTIC developed to determine best practices for conducting client-centered psychoeducational trauma support groups for women in a residential treatment setting with opioid use disorder.

WNY Champion Advanced Collaborative Training

Sue Green during Advanced Collaborative Training

6/1/18: Sue Green and Samantha Koury met with 14 of the WNY Champions from Cohort 1 who are participating in the Advanced Learning Collaborative. The champions each identified a project they will work on that falls within one of the following areas of Trauma-Informed Care: training and implementation, organizations, clinical trauma treatment considerations, and advocacy/policy. During this meeting, the champions worked together in small groups to consider what their next steps are and how they want to move forward on each of their identified projects. The champions will receive individualized coaching and consultation from ITTIC through December 2018 to assist them in completing their projects.

ITTIC featured in the May 2018 issue of the Ken-Ton School Gram

5/1/18: The Ken-Ton School District highlighted its partnership with ITTIC in the May 2018 issue of the School Gram. Ken-Ton is one of the first school districts in the Western New York area to implement trauma-informed educational practices. ITTIC is currently providing training and consultation to each of the nine school-based champion teams. ITTIC delivered Trauma 101 trainings to champion team members on 3/28/18, 4/18/18, and the next training is scheduled on 5/24/18. ITTIC will begin training all levels of district staff at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy SAMHSA Training

4/23/18: Shelley Hitzel and Cpt. Elliott, Niagara County Sheriff's Office, delivered the SAMHSA training entitled, “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses” to the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy recruit class. The current recruit class is comprised of seven individuals who will be employed at various law enforcement agencies once they complete the academy. These agencies include: Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Niagara Falls Police Department and the Town of Tonawanda Police Department. To date, Cpt. Elliott and Shelley have delivered this training to four recruit classes, with over 50 law enforcement officers receiving this training.

ITTIC traveled to Sarasota, Florida for training with All Star Children's Foundation

Samantha Koury, Suzanne Bissonette, and Sue Green
Photo of group training with All Star Children's Foundation in Sarasota, Florida

4/23/18-4/25/18: Sue Green, Samantha Koury, and Suzanne Bissonette traveled to Sarasota, Florida for a Trauma-Informed Care training with All Star Children's Foundation. The ITTIC team met with the founders and leadership team on 4/24/18 to discuss the importance of trauma-informed care in the development of their "Campus of Hope & Healing." On 4/25/18, the ITTIC team delivered a full day training for the Board of Directors, founders, and community partners of All Star, which included information about trauma and adversity, adverse childhood experiences, how trauma impacts brain development, re-traumatization, and the 5 guiding values/principles of trauma-informed care.

AIDS Institute: 3rd Cohort Champion Team Closing Training

Picture of Samantha Koury and Rachel Wilson with a champion team member from the AIDS Institute Closing Training

4/13/18: ITTIC delivered a closing training for the AIDS Institute's third cohort of 26 champions in Albany, NY. This training marked the end of the 6-month learning collaborative entitled "Building Agency Capacity for Trauma-Informed Care." During the training, the champions were trained in how to foster resilence, posttraumatic growth and vicarious resilience. Champions also discussed next steps and action planning, which is important to consider when thinking about how each of the champions will bring the skills and knowledge they learned from the collaborative back to their agencies and organizations. Each champion also received a certificate of completion.

Training Begins in Ken-Ton School District

Samantha Koury delivering Trauma 101 training to Ken-Ton Champion Team members

3/28/18: The first training session of Trauma 101 for principals, key staff, and champions in the Ken-Ton School District was held on March 28, 2018. Forty individuals in the district were trained in trauma and its impact, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), re-traumatization and an introduction to Trauma-Informed Educational Practices. This training is the foundation for the work that will be done during the 3-year training initiative. The next Trauma 101 training session will be delivered on 4/18/18.

Leadership support is crucial for creating and sustaining the organizational change process. Below is a message that Mr. Bovino, Superintendent of the Ken-Ton School District, sent to all faculty and staff in the district:

Good Morning:

Here in Ken-Ton, we have always prided ourselves on being at the forefront of educational innovation. This is most recently evident in our Ken-Ton Forward Strategic Planning process. A major component of that process is a focus on the social-emotional wellness of students.

Part of our forward-thinking efforts in this area is the development of Ken-Ton as a "Trauma-Informed District." You may have heard reference to this process in a few different ways recently. In collaboration with UB’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care we are undertaking a 3-year process to train all Ken-Ton staff in Trauma-Informed Educational Practices.

This training will begin shortly with a small group of staff and will expand to the others over a three-year period of time. This initial training will be in the Basics of Trauma-Informed Educational Practices. This will be a purposeful and differentiated process that will result in many staff being trained so Ken-Ton becomes a district that embraces a Trauma-Informed approach.

During the past year I have attended a number of meetings and conferences with educators and fellow superintendents. I can tell you that the mental health crisis in this state is real. A recent survey responded to by NYS superintendents indicated that mental health issues is a top concern. The survey also indicated it was an area where superintendents would like to commit to additional funding.

This month I attended a two-day conference on mental health for educators. The conference was both informative and alarming when one understands the issues we are facing. Two districts presented on how they have attempted to deal with mental health issues. One critical component for both districts was a thorough understanding of Trauma-Informed Care along with development of programs and training so that the entire staff can operate as a trauma-sensitive district. You may ask, what is defined as trauma? I have provided a link to a a fifteen-minute Ted Talk by Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris. I recommend that you view it as she will explain trauma and the impact it has on child’s social, emotional and physical development and overall quality of life.

In the video you will hear about ACE. I learned a great deal about this study that has been in place now for a number of years: Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE. According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the ACE study found that:

  • Adverse childhood experiences are common. For example, 28% of study participants reported physical abuse and 21% reported sexual abuse. Many also reported experiencing a divorce or parental separation or having a parent with a mental and/or substance use disorder.
  • Adverse childhood experiences often occur together. Almost 40% of the original sample reported two or more ACEs and 12.5% experienced four or more. Because ACEs occur in clusters, many subsequent studies have examined the cumulative effects of ACEs rather than the individual effects of each.
  • Adverse childhood experiences have a dose-response relationship with many health problems. As researchers followed participants over time, they discovered that a person's cumulative ACEs score has a strong, graded relationship to numerous health, social, and behavioral problems throughout their lifespan, including substance use disorders. Furthermore, many problems related to ACEs tend to be comorbid, or co-occurring.

The study uses a survey instrument to determine if a child has suffered one or more ACEs. I have attached several images that explain what the ACE survey measures and the adverse impact one or more ACEs has on a child. We have seen the increase of mental health issues in our own district. Referrals to the Family Support Center are at an all-time high. Another important aspect of the mental health condition of our students is the stress that it places on our staff. The problem is real and it impacts all of us.

As you begin to see and hear about Trauma-Informed Educational Practices I encourage you to participate. This might mean completing a survey to help in decision-making and program design, it might mean focusing on this topic in a faculty meeting or special training opportunity. The questions you are asked and the professional development you will be provided will allow for our staff to become independent practitioners of Trauma Informed Educational Practices as our colleagues at UB transition out of the schools by the end of our 3-year plan.

Trauma-Informed Educational Practices will look differently to our many kinds of staff with various skills and experiences. But in each case, I ask you to support this initiative with your honest participation. We need to work together to prepare ourselves to meet the needs of our community. Thank you for taking the time to review these materials.

Whitney Mendel attends Spirit Day at Mount St. Mary's Hospital

3/23/18: ITTIC has been deliberately working with Mount St. Mary's Hospital (part of the collaboration with Catholic Health) to integrate Trauma-Informed Care into different parts the hospital. As part of this initiative, Whitney Mendel attended this month's Spirit Day at Mount St. Mary's Hospital. While working with staff to hand out soft pretzels as a self-care treat, Whitney also highlighted the overlap of the values/principles of Trauma-Informed Care with Catholic Health's values.

WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion Training (Second Cohort)

3/15/18: The kick-off training for the WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion Team (second cohort) was held. Champions were trained in trauma/adversity, re-traumatization, steps to creating trauma-informed systems of care, the role of a Champion, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s ten implementation domains.

Dr. Mandy Davis is featured in the inSocialWork Podcast Series

3/12/18: While Dr. Mandy Davis was in Buffalo for ITTIC's WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion collaborative meeting, she recorded a podcast with Josie Diebold. She is featured in Episode 235 of the inSocialWork Podcast Series. Click the link below to hear Dr. Davis discuss challenges and barriers to promoting and sustaining trauma-informed policies and practices.

SAMHSA Training

2/7/18: Eighteen law enforcement officials (Lieutenants, Detectives, Investigators and Patrol Officers), from eight local police departments participated in the most recent SAMHSA training entitled, “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses.” Previous trainings included only a few officials, so we're pleased the number increased. 

Dr. Mandy Davis presents about her work with Trauma Informed Oregon

1/24/18: Dr. Mandy Davis, the Director of Trauma Informed Oregon, presented to the WNY Trauma-Informed Care Champion Team, the TICI Legislative Committee, and to the community about the work being done through Trauma Informed Oregon. She also gave feedback to the Champions and the Legislative Committee in regards to the policy resolution they created.