Introduction: Childhood trauma has significant and lasting negative effects on a range of outcomes (Bethell et al., 2014). Research supports the mitigating role of resiliency on the effects of childhood trauma (Bethell et al., 2014), and several interventions effectively promote childhood resiliency. However, the science-to-practice gap limits the public health impact of these interventions, posing a barrier to the dissemination of EBIs (Glasgow et al., 2007). University-community collaborative partnerships can be a mechanism to increase the translation of science to practice. The purpose of this paper is to describe an ongoing collaborative partnership between a school district, a community-based organization (CBO), and a university to implement and evaluate a community-level intervention strategy to promote child resiliency to trauma in a highly transitory, predominantly Latino community with rates of childhood trauma almost four times the national average (Stevens, 2012). The university researchers and the CBO, in partnership with the school district, jointly obtained federal funding for the project, selected EBIs, and designed the implementation and evaluation plans.
The interventions target multiple ecological systems and include several school-based program curricula, after-school and summer programming, and mentoring. Selected EBIs also include family-centered programs to build parenting skills and teacher programs to increase their knowledge about and use of trauma informed approaches. A referral system within the CBO to facilitate family access to needed resources is also part of the comprehensive service delivery plan (e.g., housing, financial literacy, ESL, employment training, and health care).
Methods: The sample includes all families of 2nd and 3rd grade students in the district (n=300 ). A quasi-experimental comparison group pretest posttest design is being used to evaluate the collective effects of the selected interventions. CBO paraprofessional staff have immersed themselves in the community and schools to implement the interventions. We collected pretest data last academic year and are currently collecting posttest data.
Preliminary results: Based on pretest responses on the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index for Children/Adolescents - DSM-5, 80% of the students reported experiencing one or more types of trauma .
Conclusions: This study highlights that a public health response to childhood trauma depends on community-level prevention efforts that target multiple systems. Based on lessons learned, we discuss the potential of university-community collaborative partnerships to enable the translation of science to practice and discuss how the partnership has both facilitated and challenged the project’s success.