The National Trauma Consortium
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no content The National Truama Consortuim: Developing integrated trauma, mental health and substance abuse services in our communities


c 2004 NTC. All rights reserved

About the NTC

Our Purpose and Values
Our purpose in creating the NTC is to raise public awareness about the prevalence of trauma and its wide-ranging impact on people’s lives. Our activities help to develop and expand the capacity of communities to provide effective, integrated, trauma-informed, and trauma-specific services.

We are committed to maintaining a focus on the centrality of trauma in human services. We recognize that people are best served through integrated approaches to multiple vulnerabilities and that people with the lived experience of trauma need to be full partners in all endeavors.

Our Functions
We have three primary goals:

  • To strengthen the interaction of research and practice by developing, evaluating, and refining new and existing service models;
  • To increase the impact of our growing knowledge through activities in the public arena, including advocacy, public policy, and public education and awareness; and
  • To enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations to plan, implement, and oversee effective service approaches by offering high quality training and technical assistance, including leadership development.

To this end, we

  • Provide information about recovery and healing, and about emerging best practices in trauma services;
  • Provide consultation, training and assistance in the development and evaluation of a wide variety of trauma programs and policies.
  • Form partnerships and collaborations with individuals, agencies, and organizations interested in supporting this work.

Our Expertise
Members of the NTC work in diverse communities with respect to race, ethnicity, language, and geographic setting. Primary areas of expertise include developing integrated and trauma-informed systems of care with an appropriate blend of service interventions, integrating people with the lived experience of trauma in all aspects of service planning and delivery, and program evaluation.

Our Board of Directors
The NTC Board of Directors includes 14 individuals who were involved with SAMHSA’s Women, Co-occurring Disorders and Violence Study or its Children’s Subset Study either as Principal Investigators or as individuals with lived experiences of interpersonal trauma. While the majority of the founding board members continue to be involved in agencies or academic institutions that also participated in the WCDVS, their ongoing board participation is as individuals rather than as agency or institution representatives. New appointments to the Board will be nominated by the Board and will require at least ¾ of votes of all Directors.

The work of the NTC is accomplished through committee participation. The Board may create and empower committees as necessary. All members of the Board of Directors actively participate on NTC committees. Committees also include the participation, whenever possible, of individuals who are not currently serving as NTC Board members, as determined by consensus of the committee members.

Sharon M. CadizSharon M. Cadiz, EdD, is currently Director of the Clinical Consultation Program for the New York City Administration for Children's Services; a program assisting child welfare staff in the areas of substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence. A national speaker and an outspoken advocate, Dr. Cadiz conducts seminars that actively support women's wellness and healing and heads an expert consultation group specializing in implementing women's services within communities, organizations and diverse care settings.      

Andrea BlanchAndrea Blanch, PhD, is the Director of the NTC, coordinating and overseeing national activities of the consortium. A former state mental health commissioner, she is known widely for her efforts to improve the public behavioral health system in the areas of consumer empowerment, women’s mental health, and trauma. She was founding director of the Collaborative for Conflict Management in Mental Health located at USF and works internationally on issues related to women, conflict and violence, and religion and spirituality.

Colleen Clark Colleen Clark, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health, Law and Policy at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. She directs national collaborative mental health services research projects on homelessness prevention, women and violence, and homeless families. She is coordinator of the Florida Task Force on Trauma Services, a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice, and a long time member of the Tampa Bay Association of Women Psychotherapists.

Hortensia Amaro Hortensia Amaro, PhD, is Distinguished Professor at the Bouve College of Health Sciences and Director of the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern University. Her research and extensive publications have focused on substance use among adolescent girls, drug abuse treatment for Latina and African American women, HIV/AIDS prevention, mental health treatment for women and racial/ethnic health disparities. She has been principal investigator of 30 public health research grants, including the Boston site for the women and violence project

Jacki McKinney Jacki McKinney, MSW, is a nationally recognized consumer advocate for people with mental health and trauma histories from diverse backgrounds. She played a leadership role in integrating people with lived experience of trauma in the women and violence project, directs the Trauma Knowledge Utilization Project, is on the Board of the Bazelon Center, and is widely sought as an educational and inspiring trauma-informed speaker. A survivor of both trauma and the psychiatric system, she was the first African-American woman to receive the NMHA’s Clifford Beers award.

Jennifer HeckmanJennifer Heckman, PhD, is Senior Research Associate for ETR Associates. She joined ETR in 1997 as principal investigator for evaluations of two federally-funded substance abuse treatment programs for women in San Joaquin County, CA, and served as principal investigator for the local women and violence project. Her commitment to NTC’s work stems from appreciation of the complex interrelationships between mental health, substance abuse, and trauma and the importance of healing the underlying pain of interpersonal violence to move forward in recovery.

Lisa Russell Lisa Russell, PhD, is Associate Director of Research at ETR Associates, where she focuses on child maltreatment, mental disorders, and substance use. Her book Child Maltreatment and Psychological Distress among Urban Homeless Youth explores the relationship between traumatic stressors and indicators of psychological distress. She has served as co-principal investigator on a number of state and federally funded projects, including the childrens subset study for the Allies women and violence project and an evaluation of the OJJDP funded Safe Start Initiative in SF.

Nancy VanDeMark Nancy VanDeMark, MSW, is the Director of Colorado Social Research Associates, a division of Arapahoe House, Inc in Denver, Colorado. She was the founding manager of the nationally recognized New Directions for Families program, a residential treatment program for women affected by substance abuse, mental illness and trauma and their children and has worked on many statewide task forces aimed at improving services and funding for women and families affected by substance abuse and violence.

Norma Finkelstein,Norma Finkelstein, PhD, is founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Health and Recovery, a statewide policy, training, services and research organization located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has focused on substance abuse prevention and treatment; pregnancy and substance use/abuse; integrated care for women with co-occurring disorders and histories of violence; trauma informed services; tobacco education and cessation; and family centered care. She has over 30 professional publications

Paula BjelajacPaula Bjelajac is a Consumer Specialist for PROTOTYPES Systems Change Center in California. She is a trauma survivor, a recovering addict, and is in treatment for a mental illness (depression and PTSD). She was a co-facilitator and trainer in the local woman and violence project, and is a graduate of the UCLA Certificate program in Dual Disorders and a member of the DMH Dual Disorders Staff Development Committee. Paula presents regularly on consumer/survivor/recovery issues to a wide variety of audiences and has a number of publications pending.

Rene AndersenRene Andersen, MEd, directed the 1994 CMHS conference Dare to Vision and was the principal investigator of the Franklin County Women’s Research Project, a consumer-driven women and violence project founded by survivors of abuse. She is currently principal investigator for the CSAT-funded RECOVER Project, a peer-to-peer community based addiction recovery program. Her work is grounded in the community, centered on the resiliency of the individual, and borne out of her personal experience with recovery from abuse and addiction.

Roger D. Fallot Roger D. Fallot, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Co-Director of Community Connections, a private not-for-profit agency providing a full range of human services in metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has special interests in the development of trauma-informed service systems and the place of spirituality in recovery. In addition, he and others at Community Connections have developed a men’s version of the Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM), a manualized group intervention for working with survivors of physical and sexual abuse.

Ruta Mazelis Ruta Mazelis, BS, is editor of The Cutting Edge: A Newsletter for People Living with Self-Inflicted Violence, an international quarterly on the topic of self-injury founded in 1990, and is on the staff at the Sidran Institute. A survivor of violence, she also has experience in providing inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling. She serves as a consultant to various projects at local and federal levels as well as publishing and speaking on a wide range of topics related to trauma and recovery.

Vivian B. Brown Vivian B. Brown, PhD, is founder and CEO of PROTOTYPES, a multi-service agency in California and Washington, D.C. She has more than 30 years experience developing community health and mental health programs; residential, day treatment and outpatient drug abuse services; HIV/AIDS outreach, prevention and interventions; specialized services for women, children and families; co-occurring disorders interventions; trauma and domestic violence prevention and intervention. She is a member of numerous federal, state, and local advisory committees.

Our History
The devastating impact of violence and trauma has long been recognized. In the 1970’s, public awareness about violence against women led to significant efforts in primary prevention and early intervention. However, many of these efforts bypassed women with severe mental illness and substance abuse problems. In the 1990’s, informed in part by work on post-traumatic stress disorder in Vietnam veterans, recognition grew that many people with severe mental health and substance abuse problems also had histories of physical and sexual abuse, and that treatment and support could potentially be effective in reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and interrupting the intergenerational cycle of abuse.

In 1994, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) held a landmark conference, Dare to Vision. This conference brought together over 350 consumer/survivors, practitioners and policymakers to share and discuss problems and potential solutions. Critical themes included the need for services integration, the damaging impact of some practices (especially seclusion and restraint), and the critical importance of consumer/survivor leadership. Dare to Vision created a national momentum on trauma and violence. As attention to this issue grew, the scope of the problem began to be evident. It is now clear that a majority of people served in the public behavioral health and social service systems have experienced trauma at one time or another in their lives.

In 1998, SAMHSA funded the Women, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Violence Study (WCDVS), a five-year national project to examine the effectiveness of services for women trauma survivors with mental health and substance abuse problems. During the first two years of the program, fourteen organizations located in ten states developed and documented integrated service models and agreed upon site-specific and cross-site research protocols. A separate study focusing on the children in these families was also developed.

During the final three years of the study, nine sites across the country developed, implemented, and evaluated trauma-informed and integrated services. All programs involved persons with lived experiences of trauma and recovery as full partners in project activities. Taken as a whole, the sites represented diverse communities with respect to race, ethnicity, language, and geographic settings. Founded in 2003 by a group of individuals who had played key roles in this study, the National Trauma Consortium was established with the vision of improving the lives of trauma survivors and their families.

A Note on Language
During the duration of the WCDVS, to emphasize the integration of trauma into the provision of services for women with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health diagnoses, women with such experiences were referred to as “C/S/R’s.” In this acronym, the “C” represented being a current or former consumer of mental health services, the “S” represented being a survivor of physical and/or sexual violence, and the “R” represented recovery from substance abuse. The NTC acknowledges that not all survivors of trauma receive diagnostic labels, abuse substances, or seek out substance abuse, mental health and/or trauma treatment. In dedication to the idea of inclusivity and integration, the NTC has decided to adopt the language of “persons with lived experience of trauma” to replace the acronym of C/S/R.