Heather Forkey and Jessica Griffin co-author Childhood Trauma and Resilience

The American Academy of Pediatrics has published Childhood Trauma & Resilience: A Practical Guide, written by UMass Medical School experts in childhood trauma and treatment Heather Forkey, MD, and Jessica Griffin, PsyD, along with co-author Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, president-elect of the AAP.

The book is the result of a 15-year-old
collaboration focused on addressing
the impact of child abuse and trauma,
raising awareness of the impact of trauma,
and promote healing through
evidence-based approaches.

The new resource for clinicians and caregivers provides guidance on trauma-informed care and the protective power of resilience. It describes the ways in which childhood negative experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, and trauma can negatively impact brain development, and how that damage can be mitigated through healthy, positive relationships with caregivers and community support.

“Through our research and work with patients, we have not only come to understand the importance of trauma-informed care, but we have also come to embrace the idea of ​​resilience-informed care,” said Dr. Forkey, professor of pediatrics, chief of the division of Child Protection, and director of the Child Protection Program and Foster Children Evaluation Services at UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. “Resilience skills and attachment ensure that children do not experience long-term consequences of trauma, and there has never been a more critical time to help families build this protective skill.”

Childhood Trauma & Resilience is a product of more than 15 years of collaboration between the authors who have focused on addressing the impact of child abuse and trauma, raising awareness of the impact of trauma and advancing healing through evidence -based approaches.

“Our long-standing partnership has enabled us to translate the science of stress into weaving resilient threads with practical therapeutic tools and science-backed techniques that can be done even outside a therapist’s office,” says Dr. Griffin, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and executive director of the UMMS Child Trauma Treatment Center. “At a time when we are acutely aware that anyone can experience trauma, it is especially exciting to have tools that our children, families and medical teams can use to heal.”

The authors address parental struggles and trauma, suggesting a paradigm shift in which clinical caregivers caring for children should treat the entire family. They also speak about the pressing issues of burnout and secondary traumatic stress among clinicians, emphasizing that trauma-informed care is best done in a team setting with peer support.

“It’s about applying empathy and engagement, connecting and collaborating, and meeting the realities of our patients’ lives,” said Forkey. “People best manage stress and the resulting morbidity by turning to each other for support.”

Forkey, a pediatrician, and Griffin, a clinical psychologist, are nationally recognized experts in treating childhood trauma and advocating for trauma-focused care for children and families. dr. Szilagyi, the Peter Shapiro Term Chair for Enhancing Children’s Developmental and Behavioral Health in Pediatrics, professor of pediatrics and division chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the University of California Los Angeles, will be president-elect 2021 and 2022 president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Foster Child Evaluation Services clinic provides accessible and comprehensive health care for children in foster care in a child-centered and trauma-informed manner. Since 2012, the Child Trauma Training Center has provided evidence-based, trauma-informed care training to more than 38,000 caregivers and other professionals working with at-risk children and families across Massachusetts.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
UMMS Launches Resilience Through Relationships Center to Improve Treatment of Childhood Trauma
New grant supports expected increase in calls to LINK-KID due to COVID-19
UMass Medical School Pediatric Trauma Expert Co-authors COVID-19 Resource for Supporting Child Well-Being
Heather Forkey Appointed Joy McCann Professor for Women in Medicine

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