IIntegrated CareHS Announces Pilot Program for Child Trauma-Informed 

Published April 9, 2017

Ten IHS and tribally-run sites selected from across the U.S.

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND – The Indian Health Service (IHS) is announcing 10 locations that will participate in a new year-long pilot project to integrate trauma-informed care at IHS and tribal facilities.

The IHS and tribal pilot sites chosen to participate in the project will receive virtual technical assistance through a series of structured webinars, virtual learning communities, technical assistance calls, and metrics collection and analysis.

IHS is working in conjunction with the Pediatric Integrated Care Collaborative (PICC) which is part of the Johns Hopkins Center for Mental Health Services in Pediatric Primary Care. PICC works with national faculty, pediatric primary care providers, mental health professionals and families to increase the quality and accessibility of child trauma services by integrating behavioral and physical health services in Native communities. The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is playing a critical role in adapting the project for Native communities.

IHS and Johns Hopkins will work closely together to provide assistance and guidance for the programs at each site and ultimately devise a comprehensive action plan that can be used at additional locations in the future.

“The quality of care for our youngest patients is important and this collaboration will allow IHS to reach out and respond to children and their families with early intervention and promote resiliency in order to lessen the effects of childhood traumatic stress,” said Rear Adm. Chris Buchanan, acting director of the Indian Health Service. “Traumatic experiences that cause stress or can threaten or harm a child’s emotional or physical well-being include poverty, physical or sexual abuse, community and school violence and neglect.”

“We are honored to be able to work with a group of tribal communities and the IHS on trauma-informed integrated care,” said Lawrence Wissow, MD, professor, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “We hope that we can help those communities develop their integrated care capacities, and we know that the larger integrated care world will learn from solutions that incorporate Native American traditions of healing and collaboration.”

The 10 selected locations include seven direct service (IHS) and three tribal sites (*):

  • Chickasaw Nation Medical Center Pediatric Clinic, Oklahoma*
  • Gallup Indian Medical Center, New Mexico
  • Fort Thompson Indian Health Center, South Dakota
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health, Oklahoma*
  • Northern Navajo Medical Center, Navajo Preparatory School Based Health Clinic, New Mexico
  • Northern Navajo Medical Center, New Mexico
  • Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Health and Human Services, Michigan*
  • Southern Bands Health Center – IHS Elko Service Unit, Nevada
  • Woodrow Wilson Keeble Memorial Health Care Center-IHS Sisseton Service Unit, South Dakota
  • Zuni Comprehensive Community Health Center, New Mexico

The project uses a “learning collaborative” method in which newly learned processes are implemented and subsequently evaluated to identify what works well, what does not work well and what changes might be needed. Staff are encouraged to test practical, sustainable approaches of integrating trauma/chronic stress prevention, detection and early intervention into primary care for young children. Teams identify methods and set up structures and procedures to facilitate the integration of trauma-informed care. Identified approaches may include providing primary and secondary prevention, screening for trauma-related problems or treating trauma-related problems.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Mental Health Services in Pediatric Primary Care’s PICC is one of the Category II centers of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov, which aims to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families, and communities throughout the United States. The NCTSN is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov.

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