On Februray 16, 2022, Lori Chelius MBA/MPH and Andi Fetzner PsyD presented a webinar titled Creating a Culture of Wellness and Connection: A Trauma-Informed Approach telling the story of Eisner Health’s experience integrating this approach…
I learned to ski as an adult so I will never be great, but I absolutely love it and can hold my own. As my two older kids have long surpassed me in terms of skill level, one of the things I now do when I go on a hard run with them is to let them go first and watch what they do. I look for the path they take, how fast they go, where they struggle, and then make adjustments based on my own strengths and challenges when we ski together.
When Origins Co-Founder Andi Fetzner and I started Origins back in 2017, the trauma-informed movement was still young. Sure, there were organizations and communities who had been doing trauma-informed work for years, or even decades, but it wasn’t quite mainstream yet. One of our observations was that there was an enormous opportunity for others to learn from those who had gone down the mountain first. There was so much wisdom from those early adopters, but there wasn’t much out there that formally documented the learnings–the wins, the struggles, the lessons learned.
Fast forward a couple of years and Andi connected with Eisner Health, a community health center in Los Angeles County. Eisner Health began it’s trauma-informed initiative in 2018 (although the seeds had been planted a few years before it formally began). Eisner Health shared many of the philosophies about trauma-informed care that we hold at Origins–the importance of focusing internally, the role of organizational culture, and the need for a shared language –and we saw an opportunity to partner. We applied for and received a grant from ACEs Aware to share their story and recently published a practice paper with those lessons.
Register here for a free webinar on February 16th from 12-1 pm PT to hear tips from Eisner Health’s journey implementing trauma-informed care, many of which are universal takeaways that can be applied across sectors. The full practice paper will be sent to everyone who registers for the webinar.
Because this mountain is challenging and we don’t need to go down it alone.
Lori Chelius, MBA/MPH is a Co-Founder of Origins Training & Consulting. Andi and Lori work with organizations across a number of sectors to build strong foundations based on solid values, build resilience, and provide even better care for the people they serve. She lives in California with her wife, three kids, and their dog, Oliver.
By: Lori Chelius, MBA/MPH
Eisner Health’s journey through implementing trauma-informed care (TIC) began more than six years ago when Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deborah Lerner attended a conference focused on community healthcare and wandered into a session hosted by a social worker who worked for the San Diego Police Department.
The social worker’s story of how TIC had transformed her work planted a seed in Dr. Lerner’s mind, which continued growing over time as she observed real-world challenges with staff, providers, and patients at Eisner Health. Regardless of the people involved, she noticed a similar pattern of escalation and conflict in high-stress situations. For example, a verbal complaint or threat from a patient often intensified quickly, frequently resulting in security having to intervene. In addition, providers sometimes used firm language toward other team members during tense situations, such as when front office staff wanted to add a walk-in appointment into an already crowded schedule. These interactions eroded trust and communication, creating even more of a hotbed for escalations and incidents.
Dr. Lerner observed that the common connection among these challenges was that Eisner Health’s staff members needed more support and tools to navigate stressful circumstances and conversations, as well as skills to help manage those feelings in themselves and their patients.
Dr. Lerner recalled the conference presentation she saw and recognized that TIC could be a way to address these issues on a deeper level and in a sustainable way. Many Eisner Health employees live in the chronically stressed communities that the organization serves, and all staff naturally bring life experiences and stressors to the workplace. By providing more knowledge about stress and tools for managing it, Dr. Lerner hoped Eisner Health could better support its staff, build internal resilience, and improve employee wellness.
As Brene Brene has said, “stories are data with a soul.”
In our recently published project paper, which was a collaboration between Origins and Eisner Health (funded by ACEs Aware), we share the lessons learned from Eisner Health’s experience implementing trauma-informed care, a process that formally began in 2018.
One of these lessons learned was the importance of knowing your “why” (a high-level vision or purpose) before beginning. For Dr. Lerner, her “why” was clear: to better support staff wellness and stress management in order to reduce escalations and improve the patient experience. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified the challenges Eisner Health was already feeling and reinforced the importance of pursuing this plan.
Clearly defining this “why” set the tone for Eisner Health’s TIC implementation and laid a strong foundation for long-term sustainability.
As said by an Eisner Health team member “When we take care of ourselves, that’s when we can provide the best care for others.”
Other top lessons include the critical role of organizational culture, the importance of buy-in, the value of creating a shared language throughout an organization, and recognizing the role of TIC as a foundation for ACE screening.
Sprinkled throughout the paper are stories that capture these and other lessons.
To learn more and download a free copy of this paper, CLICK HERE.
Lori Chelius is a co-founder of Origins Training & Consulting. Origins helps health care professionals, social service workers, educators, and other leaders integrate a trauma-informed approach into their work so they can build more resilient organizations and communities. She lives in California with her wife, three kids, and their dog, Oliver. Learn more about Origins’ and its online training offerings at www.originstraining.org.
Trauma-informed care (TIC) offers a way for organizations to start building a resilient organizational culture by understanding the impact of toxic stress and resilience on both patients and staff, then leverage that understanding to improve organizational culture and practices. Within community health, TIC provides a critical foundation for integrating screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
The past, the present, and the future are unique to each of us and that journey has brought us to where we are today. You may be reflecting on this present moment and wondering, “Where do I fit in the creation of a new normal? Am I a changemaker?” In this interview, you will get to know Kamakshi Hart MA, the creator of Origin’s latest course for personal and professional development, The Changemaker. As Andi and Kamakshi share experiences about awareness, mindfulness, and non-linear healing, you will learn more about the people behind the trainings here at Origins.
In this video, Andi will be talking about how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are not the only way that stress can become toxic (insert pandemic here). Understanding our origins (see what we did there) can help us understand what we’re going through can make all of us feel less alone (and less weird).
At Origins, we encourage self-reflection as we navigate advocacy during this social justice revolution. While we are all in this storm together, we recognize the reality that we are not all in the same boat. In scrolling through social media this last week, I came upon a poem that speaks to this truth. The author is unknown.
In this last video, “A Trauma-Informed Approach For All!” we will wrap it all up and talk about how all of these concepts can be translated into practice in both organizations and communities. We will introduce established concepts from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration aka SAMHSA. We will discuss the 4 R’s of a trauma-informed approach- Realize, Recognize, Respond, and Resist Re-traumatization. We will also discuss the 6 principles including Safety, Trustworthiness & Transparency, Peer Support, Collaboration & Mutuality, and Cultural, Historic, & Gender Issues.
In this third video, “What Can We Do About It?” Andi will offer some concrete practices that you can do to build that resilience muscle and keep yourself in that resilience zone.
In this second video, “What About Resilience?” Andi will offer some hope and talk about resilience–what it is and what impacts it.