“We can sew them up, but we can’t make them well”
A seed is planted when Dr. Bill Schechter, Chief of Surgery at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) remarks “we can sew them up, but we can’t make them well,” noting that despite successful surgeries, many trauma patients are not getting the support that they need to heal from the psychological wounds of trauma. This leads to the development of a small pilot study by Dr. Alicia Boccellari, PhD. The study found that after six months, less than a third of clients had returned to work despite having healed physically and all reported high levels of distress. None had received follow-up mental health treatment.
The Trauma Recovery Center Model is Born in San Francisco, California
Inspired by the findings of the pilot study, the trauma recovery center model is created by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health. Under the leadership of Dr. Alicia Boccellari, PhD, Founder and Director of Special Programs and Dr. Robert Okin, MD., this model is created as a four-year pilot to provide comprehensive and integrated services to victims of crime, and to remove barriers to care for populations that have been historically underserved by traditional mental health programs. It is made possible by funding enacted under AB 1740 and AB 2491 from the California Victim Compensation Board (VCB).
Legislation Funds Three Additional Trauma Recovery Centers in California
Californians for Safety and Justice, a new organization working to reduce incarceration and win new investments in prevention, rehabilitation and trauma recovery services, alongside its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network, partner with the UCSF Trauma Recovery Center and Senator Mark Leno to expand the UCSF Trauma Recovery Center model. Together, they pass legislation establishing a grant program for the creation of up to three trauma recovery centers across the state, administered by the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB).
A new trauma recovery center in Los Angeles — Special Service for Groups – opens its doors. SSG is community-based program that assists survivors of violent crimes with overcoming their victimization with the help of therapeutic, psychiatric, psychological, case management, and collaborative services.
The Long Beach, California trauma recovery center is created as a partnership between the California State University, Long Beach Community Clinic and Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center, a Level II Trauma Center Hospital. The LB trauma recovery center is housed at Dignity Health — St. Mary Medical Center, which is located in southwest Long Beach, the city’s poorest and most violent area.
Downtown Women’s Center receives a grant to serve clients throughout Los Angeles County as a new trauma recovery center, with partner organization Peace over Violence.
California’s Proposition 47 Wins Additional Trauma Recovery Center Investments
Californians for Safety and Justice’s 501c4 organization, Alliance for Safety and Justice Action Fund (formerly Vote Safe) launches and runs the successful Yes on Proposition 47 campaign. Proposition 47 changes six low-level felonies to misdemeanors and requires reallocation of the savings toward prevention and treatment. Shortly thereafter, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (SNSA) becomes effective and allocates 10% of funds saved annually from Proposition 47 to additional trauma recovery centers throughout the state. These funds are distributed through a request for proposal (RFP) process.
Fathers and Family of San Joaquin, a community-based organization serving crime victims since 2003, is awarded a grant to open a trauma recovery center in Stockton, California.
Alliance for Safety and Justice Takes the Trauma Recovery Center Model Outside of California
Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), national sister organization to Californians for Safety and Justice, is launched in 2016 with the similar goal of reducing incarceration and reinvesting in community health and safety in states across the country. ASJ begins to introduce the trauma recovery center model to leaders beyond California.
The Alameda County trauma recovery center, Family Justice Center, is created in partnership with La Familia Counseling Services (LFCS) to provide evidence-based and culturally competent mental health treatment and case management.
The first Sacramento, California trauma recovery center is created — Grace Network – which serves victims and provides mental health services, case management, and proactive direct outreach to victims of crime. TGN staff travels extensively throughout California to provide training on how to identify victims of human trafficking and the most effective tools for treatment.
A new trauma recovery center is established at St. Francis Medical Center, a Level II Trauma Center Hospital in South Los Angeles, in partnership with Southern California Crossroads.
End of 2016
By the end of 2016, eight trauma recovery centers are established or in development in California.
Ohio Creates a Trauma Recovery Network
Alliance for Safety and Justice meets with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) Administrator Michael Sheline and advocates to bring the trauma recovery center model to Ohio. Soon after, the UCSF Trauma Recovery Center and ASJ host Ohio government leaders for a site visit. In January 2017, Attorney General DeWine issues a request for proposals (RFP) to establish five trauma recovery centers throughout the state. This RFP includes recommendations from diverse Ohio crime survivors, in partnership with staff from the UCSF Trauma Recovery Center.
New Ohio trauma recovery centers include the Ohio State University Stress Trauma and Resilience (OSUSTAR) Trauma Recovery Center in Columbus, Circle Health Services and University Hospitals Trauma Recovery Center in Cleveland, a trauma recovery center that resulted from a partnership between May Dugan Center and Metro Health in Cleveland, Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Trauma Recovery Center in Cincinnati, and a trauma recovery center between CitiLookout and Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio.
Illinois’ Neighborhood Safety Act wins investments for trauma recovery services
Working with Illinois state Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth and other lawmakers, ASJ plays a major role in the passage of the Illinois Neighborhood Safety Act, or SB 2872, which increases trauma support services for victims of violent crime. Three trauma recovery centers will be established in Illinois.
A new trauma recovery center in Northridge, California is established by Strength United (SU), an auxiliary of California State University-Northridge, in partnership with Journey Out and Loved Ones Victim Services.
In northern California, Solano Courage Center creates the Solano Trauma Recovery Center partnering with Child Haven, Solano Advocates for Victims of Violence, and the Solano Office of Family Violence Prevention to provide trauma-informed comprehensive care.
The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego partners with the San Diego Family Justice Center to establish a new multi-site trauma recovery center.
Michigan Launches its First Trauma Recovery Center in Flint
Photo courtesy of Doug Pike, Hurley Medical Center
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announces a $365,927 grant to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan to establish Michigan’s first trauma recovery center for victims of violent crime, a model introduced to the state by Alliance for Safety and Justice. Michigan becomes the third state in the nation to implement the trauma recovery center model.
Ongoing Support and Technical Assistance for the National Trauma Recovery Center Network
Today, Alliance for Safety and Justice, Californians for Safety and Justice, and Dr. Alicia Boccellari, Founder and Director of Special Programs at the UCSF Trauma Recovery Center, work closely together to provide support and technical assistance to new trauma recovery centers across the country.