HFP's Senior Director of Training and Organizational Development, Leslie Lieberman, MSW, who was recently named to Governor Wolf's Trauma-Informed PA Think Tank, shares her thoughts on a trauma-informed PA as the Wolf Administration releases Pennsylvania's Trauma-Informed PA Plan.
"Sharing the science of ACEs and trauma widely is important. Primary prevention of ACEs, as well as intervention, requires a focus on healthy human relationships. I believe these are steps to becoming a trauma-informed PA, and more is needed. My interest is in ensuring that we clearly communicate that a comprehensive, healing-centered, trauma-informed approach must include clear identification and acknowledgement of the underlying conditions (e.g. racism and other “isms”, poverty, poor access to quality healthcare and education, etc.) that contribute to an inequitable distribution of ACEs and trauma in society, and an acknowledgement that most, if not all, ACEs are preventable. We must emphasize the need for advocacy and action, and resources to create the supports and conditions that make it possible for all Pennsylvanians to thrive and flourish. I am a big fan of activist and organizer Margaret Wheatley and often quote the tagline of the Berkhana Institute she founded which is “Whatever the Problem, Community is the Answer.” Based on my work of the last 13 years, I believe that the answer to trauma and ACEs lies in the power of communities, along with the science and relationships emphasized by so many others on this think tank. Through the Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities Initiative I’ve seen what communities organized around the science of ACEs, Trauma, and Resilience (ATR) can do. We must call all of PA to mobilize, organize, and advocate around ATR and build on what exists. There are at least 15 counties in PA that have ATR networks/coalitions, and surely more at local levels. I am encouraged by our recommendations to expand, support and sustain these networks," said Lieberman.