University of Chicago Receives $9 Million for 'Trauma-Informed' Care

University of Chicago Receives $9 Million for 'Trauma-Informed' Care

The University of Chicago Medicine has announced a $9.1 million gift from the Ellen & Ronald Block Family Foundation and Hassenfeld Family Foundation in support of "trauma-informed" care for children and families living on Chicago's South Side.

The gift will be used to integrate and expand an ecosystem of clinical and community services designed to help young patients and their families recover from the immediate and long-term effects of trauma caused by child abuse or gun, domestic, or sexual violence. Based on the premise that such trauma is best treated holistically — starting with personalized care in the medical center, continuing through discharge and recovery, and  extending into the home, school, and neighborhood — the Block Hassenfeld Casdin (BHC) Collaborative for Family Resilience will work to help children navigate their hospital experience, provide wraparound services, and invest in community-based organizations. 

To that end, BHC will provide 24/7 Child Life interventions in the UChicago Medicine Comer Children's emergency room as well as support for children whose loved ones are treated at the Level 1 Adult Trauma Center. It also will connect children and families to specialized counseling services, including those offered by Healing Hurt People – Chicago, which provides group therapy and mentoring, and the REACT program, which offers assessment, trauma-focused psychotherapy, and medication management services for children. In addition to healthcare navigation and mental health support, wraparound services and community resources will include social services support and assistance in finding housing and/or child care. 

The model was developed with input from UChicago Medicine's Community Advisory Council, which is made up of civic and faith-based leaders who provide guidance on key health concerns affecting South Side residents. 

"The genius of this program is that the community and medical center are true partners, each bringing their expertise, from working together on the initial design to making improvements along the way," said UChicago Medicine board member Ellen Hassenfeld Block. "This kind of real change takes the efforts of so many people — respecting, trusting, and supporting each other — and a commitment to the long term. We are excited to support this effort and are grateful to everyone from everywhere who has worked tirelessly to create this collaborative, for their ongoing contributions, and for their commitment to a long-term future that we too share, seeing that all children and families in our community are safe from violence, resilient, healthy, and can grow up and thrive."

(Photo credit: UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital)