Implementing a Trauma-Informed Approach in Pediatric Health Care Networks

Meghan L. Marsac, Nancy Kassam-Adams, Aimee K. Hildenbrand, Elizabeth Nicholls, Flaura K. Winston, Stephen S. Leff, Joel Fein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Pediatric health care networks serve millions of children each year. Pediatric illness and injury are among the most common potentially emotionally traumatic experiences for children and their families. In addition, millions of children who present for medical care (including well visits) have been exposed to prior traumatic events, such as violence or natural disasters. Given the daily challenges of working in pediatric health care networks, medical professionals and support staff can experience trauma symptoms related to their work. The application of a trauma-informed approach to medical care has the potential to mitigate these negative consequences. Trauma-informed care minimizes the potential for medical care to become traumatic or trigger trauma reactions, addresses distress, provides emotional support for the entire family, encourages positive coping, and provides anticipatory guidance regarding the recovery process. When used in conjunction with family-centered practices, trauma-informed approaches enhance the quality of care for patients and their families and the well-being of medical professionals and support staff. Barriers to routine integration of trauma-informed approaches into pediatric medicine include a lack of available training and unclear best-practice guidelines. This article highlights the importance of implementing a traumainformed approach and offers a framework for training pediatric health care networks in trauma-informed care practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Mentored Career Award grant 1K23MH093618-01A1 from the National Institute of Mental Health (Dr Marsac), grant U79SSM061255 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Dr Kassam-Adams), and the Violence Prevention Initiative at The Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia (Drs Leff and Fein). The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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