Health Federation of Philadelphia provides training to city employees

December 27, 2016 – The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity recently held a training session on trauma-informed practices and adversity for Philadelphia city employees. Led by the Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP), the training recognized the impact of trauma on organizations, employees and the importance of caring for the caregivers.

There is a great intimacy in the type of work undertaken by the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, which is the city’s anti-poverty agency. The work can have a powerful impact on people’s lives, but it can also impact the health and well-being of employees. The training combined theory, planning and real-world application. Attendees focused on trauma and adversity in Philadelphia, trauma and attachment theory, organizational stress, safety planning, staff well-being, resiliency and strategies to incorporate trauma-informed practices into their work.

“Trauma is both a cause and a symptom of poverty. With more than a quarter of our city’s residents living in poverty, trauma-informed knowledge, values, language and practice couldn’t be more important in our work leading partner agencies in their efforts to provide meaningful and effective service,” said Mitchell Little, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. “The Sanctuary Training hosted by the Health Federation of Philadelphia provided our staff with the context for supporting trauma-informed work across the city and enriching our staff’s understanding of client experiences and needs. It is through this lens that we will view our policies and programming for years to come.”

Presenters included Dr. Sandra Bloom, associate professor of health management policy with the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University; Shandra Banutu-Gomez, senior training specialist for HFP; Michael O’Bryan, senior manager of youth programs for The Village of Arts and Humanities and sanctuary coordinator for the Trauma Informed Care Initiative of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania United States Attorney’s Office; and Kalma Kartell-White of the Behavioral Health Training and Education Network. Introductions were provided by Mitchell Little and Leslie Lieberman, senior director of special initiatives with HFP.

In her introductory remarks Leslie Lieberman stressed the importance of this training. “We think that all of the services represented here in this room are classified as health services,” she said. “I commend you on having the vision to create a trauma-informed public service system in Philadelphia.”

The training addressed key themes such as collaboration, information and working together with a common focus towards a common goal.  “Trauma and adversity are major public health problems for our city,” said Dr. Sandra L. Bloom. “It is important that everyone that works in the city, works for the city and lives in the city is informed and has the knowledge of what that means.”

HFP has provided training on trauma-informed practices to organizations since 2006 through its Multiplying Connections Initiative. Professional development workshops, consultation, coaching and technical assistance is available for organizations interested in integrating trauma-informed principles and practices into their culture. An initial consultation is available free of charge to any interested organization. Please contact Leslie Lieberman.

For more information on other training opportunities offered by HFP visit: