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Toward a Trauma-Informed City: Challenges and Opportunities in Philadelphia

Interviews with 29 of Philadelphia’s intellectual leaders, public sector champions, and community partners discussing the journey to becoming a trauma-informed city.

Trauma-Informed City live webcast with Dr. Sandra Bloom and Crystal Wyatt

On May 31, 2016, Dr. Sandy Bloom hosted a live webcast to highlight the context of Philadelphia as a model for trauma-informed work, the rationale for the Trauma-Informed City project, and how the project can be used to inform change.

View the webcast

Download the slides [PDF]

To be a Trauma-Informed City

To be “traumaÔÇÉinformed” involves a number of scientifically grounded elements that focus on safety, emotional intelligence, connection, communication, resilience and healing.

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We now know that many of the individual problems and social challenges that exist for trauma survivors were originally developed as attempts to cope with overwhelming experiences of relentless stress, toxic stress and traumatic stress.

Research has demonstrated that a majority of people in the United States will experience a traumatic event at some time in their lifetime. In urban areas, the rate of exposure is even higher. 

The Interviews: Highlighting a Trauma-Informed Philadelphia

For over a decade, Philadelphia has been at the forefront of understanding trauma and it's connection to health, education, and social and emotional well being. As the fifth largest city in the country, Philadelphia has taken a public health approach to trauma and toxic stress that has drawn national recognition.

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As a way of bringing some of that knowledge and history—and future—to a broader audience, the Dornsife School of Public Health, through the HRSA-funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center, interviewed 27 champions—experts in public health, behavioral health medicine, education, child care, and criminal justice—to learn more about the work Philadelphia has done to become trauma informed and the challenges that lie ahead.

Explore the core questions we asked below or watch the full length interviews videos and learn more detail about Philadelphia’s journey to become a trauma informed city.

View the full-length interviews

The Core Questions

Each expert was asked a series of questions to understand their experience with trauma within their system, the progress that's been made, and where systems and individuals need to go from here. Each of these questions are highlighted in the videos below.

How did you come to recognize trauma as an issue?

What changes have you helped facilitate in your system?

What lessons have you learned?

What are necessary next steps that should inform public policy in Philadelphia?

Ten years from now, what does Philadelphia look like as a trauma informed city?

View the full-length interviews