News: Public Health

DHS Featured in Wisconsin Health News: DHS wants to help other agencies become trauma-informed

Friday, October 5, 2018  
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DHS wants to help other agencies become trauma-informed


The Department of Health Services has spent years working on making itself a trauma-informed agency and is now looking to help others do the same.


DHS participates in Fostering Futures, an initiative by First Lady Tonette Walker to raise awareness about the impact of childhood trauma. Foster Futures works with state agencies and others on incorporating trauma-informed practices into their work.


“If we can tackle trauma-informed care in state government, we can probably do it just about anywhere,” Walker told attendees at UnitedHealthcare Community Plan ofWisconsin's Innovation Day this week in Milwaukee.


Robin Matthies, trauma and resilience program manager with the DHS Division of Public Health, said DHS has completed an internal review that resulted in staff trainings and a wellness initiative to address trauma among their employees.


The focus is now beginning to shift to helping agencies outside the department adopt trauma-informed practices, she said.


For instance, they’ve added trauma and adverse childhood events, which are traumatic childhood events, as a sixth priority to Healthy Wisconsin, the state health improvement plan.


“All of the health departments who are working within Healthy Wisconsin are including ACEs and trauma in the work that they’re doing,” Matthies said. “That’s sort of the tie that binds – all these things are impacted by trauma and ACEs.”

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