McLean Launches Institute for Trauma-Informed Systems Change

July 8, 2021

On Tuesday, July 6, health care leaders, government officials, and journalists from across the U.S., Europe, and Africa joined Alisha Moreland-Capuia, MD, for a virtual meet and greet to launch McLean Hospital’s new Institute for Trauma-Informed Systems Change. Moreland-Capuia, the institute’s founder and director, hosted the Zoom session to discuss the program’s development and objectives.

The institute will provide training to organizations, educators, government officials, law enforcement personnel, clinicians, and others in “trauma-informed organizational change.” Participants will explore the impact of trauma on individuals, populations, and systems. They will also learn how they can change those systems to best serve those who have been affected by trauma.

“This institute, here at McLean, is a culmination of great mentorship, destiny, and heart,” said Moreland-Capuia. “It provides a home and a hub for this very important healing work.”

During its first year of operation, the McLean-based institute will offer monthly two-day, 12-hour workshops on trauma-informed practices and approaches, brain development, and the neuroscience of fear and trauma. There are 32 modules in the “Training for Change” curriculum. The first year of workshops will employ the first 8 out of 32 modules, and subsequent years will address the remaining 24 modules.

At the same time, trainers from the institute will work in Angola to teach that nation’s doctors and community leaders about trauma-informed systems change. Also, Moreland-Capuia said, the institute will collaborate on training efforts with partners across the U.S. and Europe.

Hands typing on laptop
The recent virtual open house brought together organizations and individuals dedicated to changing systems to best serve those who have been affected by trauma

During the meeting, Scott L. Rauch, MD, McLean’s president and psychiatrist in chief, and Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD, the hospital’s chief scientific officer, expressed their enthusiasm for the new program. The institute, Rauch stated, has “the vision and potential for global impact.” He asserted that the program “will have life-changing effects on systems and people worldwide.”

In his remarks, Ressler asserted that “trauma breaks systems, whether the system be a family, a community, a justice system, a political system, a business, or a country.” The tools of trauma-informed systems change, he said, “have the ability to heal these systems.”

In her keynote address Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, presented real-life examples of how trauma-informed training can lead to systems change. She described how officials in her state received training from Moreland-Capuia. This training, she reported, “lit a fire” among leaders and “truly energized the work in Oregon.”

This work, Brown said, includes a new policy at the Oregon Health Authority to support staff who have faced trauma in their personal and professional lives. Other efforts stemming from the training include a checklist to help the Oregon Department of Human Services integrate trauma-informed principles into their facilities and the development of trauma-focused strategies to improve the work of the state’s juvenile justice system.

In her talk, Brown expressed her belief that the institute will be “a driver of change on a national level” and that Moreland-Capuia will “continue to educate us and push us to do better.”

The meeting also included remarks by Joaquim do Espirito Santo, ambassador of Angola to the United States, and Estevao Capuia, director of Medico Bom Samaritano in Angola. Both men congratulated Moreland-Capuia on the launch of the new institute and stated their hopes for an effective collaboration to further health and healing in their country.

“Hope is what brings us together today,” said the Ambassador. “The opportunities for learning and teaching are incredible.”

Join us for 12 hours of training in trauma-informed practices and approaches, brain development, neuroscience of fear and trauma, and trauma-informed systems change. These 2-day workshops are offered monthly. Register now

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