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Trauma-Informed Systems Initiative with the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health

Organizations, like people, are susceptible to negative effects of trauma, including fragmentation, numbing, reactivity and impaired relationships. These effects in turn prevent staff from responding effectively to each other and to the people they serve. In this free webinar, Dr. Kenneth Epstein of the San Francisco Department of Public Health outlines the Trauma-Informed Systems Initiative (TISI) which is working to make SFDPH a more trauma-informed, safe, and supportive work environment and system of care. The TISI includes mandatory, foundational training for all 9,000 DPH employees that is designed to create shared language and understanding about how trauma affects health, behavior, relationships, and systems, and provides practical tools for addressing trauma’s effects within the workforce. Additionally, TISI is grounded in implementation science to ensure that knowledge transfer is associated with structures that support change and sustained implementation, and includes an embedded Champions Learning Community; a Train the Trainer component; alignment and collaboration across other public sector systems; leadership participation; and continuous evaluation.



Dr. Ken Epstein is currently the Children’s System of Care Director for San Francisco County Community Behavioral Health Services, where he also leads the vision and implementation of the Trauma Informed Systems Initiative. One notable collaboration includes Bay Area Trauma Transformed, comprised of seven Bay Area counties, which was awarded a four year SAMHSA grant. Dr. Epstein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Ph.D. in clinical social work from Smith College, an MSW from UC Berkeley, and a BA in community mental health from Hampshire College. Since 1991, Dr. Epstein has served as an Associate Clinical Professor and in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF where he has developed and directed an Intensive Family Therapy Training Program. In addition, he has served as adjunct faculty at UCSF, School of Nursing; University of California Berkeley, School of Social Welfare; and Smith College.