With the increasing prevalence and effect of trauma on pediatric patients, families and  clinics health care providers it is essential that health care providers learn how to develop and integrate a trauma-informed care approach into the delivery of medical care Implementing trauma-informed care is shifting the culture of how we practice in pediatrics.  We have learned that ongoing trauma, also labeled as toxic stress can be defined as excessive, frequent or prolonged activation of physiological stress response systems in the absence of the protection that is buffered by stable relationships with a supportive caregiver.

Toxic stress can occur as a result of adverse events, such as abuse, neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposures to violence and poverty.  Toxic stress may disrupt the development of brain circuitry and other physiological systems, this can in turn put a person at risk for future impairment in their cognitive development, behavioral, psychological functioning and even physical health in the future.  The purpose of a trauma-informed approach to medical care has the potential to mitigate these traumatic events.  It can minimize the potential for medical care to become traumatic or trigger trauma reactions, which can address distress, and provide emotional support for the entire family.

MOAAP Trauma Informed Care Work Group is developing a training initiative that focuses on trauma awareness, collaboration and supporting best practices for trauma intervention within pediatric practices.

This initiatives goals include:

  1. Utilize the Missouri Model as a framework that involves understanding and responding to the effects of trauma,
  2. Develop and implement trauma-informed clinical practices, such as identifying and responding to patients with trauma,
  3. Create an organizational culture that empowers staff to feel energized in their daily work and patients to make choices about their health and wellness, and
  4. Establish policy, practices, procedure and interactions that are trauma and culturally-informed.