Health Center News

Addressing Trauma in Public Health

We often write on this blog about how health centers are responsive to community needs, and often go to great lengths to address them, whether the need is poor nutrition, homelessness, diabetes, or cancer.  We encountered a different community need with this Boston Globe story about trauma, and how the chronic exposure to violence can lead to health complications.  That is why the city of Boston and Community Health Centers joined efforts on an initiative to reach out to neighborhoods most affected by violent crime.

“Health centers continue to challenge long-held notions about what it means to deliver truly responsive healthcare,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “Addressing the psychological trauma of individuals who are  exposed to violence is yet another example of how health centers are broadly focused on issues that impact the overall health and well-being of their communities.”

Trauma Recovery Teams — staffed by clinicians and a community workers– are stationed in each health center located in some of the most violent-riddled neighborhoods.   They are deployed within up to 72 hours after an incident and provide counseling, organize support groups, and assistance with shelter food and healthcare to victims.

“These health centers have a broader definition of their role working in the community, promoting resilience and healing,” explained Catherine Fine, director of violence prevention at the Public  Health Commission, to Globe reporter Jan Ransom.

Chronic exposure to violence does affect people’s health, often in ways they are not aware of, according to the article.  When combined with poverty the health complications can include obesity and heart disease.