Health & Medicine Invites Constituents Across the State to Help Build a More Trauma-Informed Illinois

The Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative (The Collaborative), a program of Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, invited both the public and the press to join its virtual event, Building a More Resilient and Just Illinois.

Held in conjunction with the third annual Trauma-Informed Awareness Day in Illinois, the event highlighted leaders in Illinois who champion and implement trauma-informed and healing centered policies and practices.

“It is critically important to lift up the power of healing and trauma-informed policies and practices, and I am honored to be a part of this event on Trauma-Informed Awareness Day. This past year has created deep harms to already challenged communities. Together, we can build a more resilient and healing Illinois,” said Grace B. Hou, Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services.

Secretary Hou provided opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion that featured Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Matt Richards, Deputy Commissioner of Behavioral Health at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Rosalia Salgado, Parent Leader with COFI’s POWER-PAC IL, and State Senator Julie Morrison, lead sponsor of the Senate Trauma-Informed Awareness Day Resolution. The panel was moderated by Octavia Tyson, Program Manager for Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) in the CDPH Office of Violence Prevention and Behavioral Health.

“Trauma-Informed Awareness Day is a call to action. Together, we can build a more equitable Illinois that values and supports the great potential of all of our residents by promoting healing and resilience throughout life,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton.

Speakers shared how they came to champion trauma-responsiveness and resilience-building policies and practices; shared their vision, ideas, and commitments for advancing trauma-informed systems change in the future; and offered lessons learned to others interested in advancing trauma-responsive policies and practices within their organizations, systems, and communities.

At this event, the Collaborative released the Action Plan to Address Childhood Adversity in Illinois. The Action Plan, which is the result of a year-long, consensus-building process with a multi-sector Statewide Working Group, outlines recommendations for a statewide response to prevent and mitigate childhood trauma and its effects on health and well-being across the lifespan.

“We want to inspire leaders from across the state to join the movement to build a trauma-informed Illinois by demonstrating that real transformation is possible,” said Bridget Gavaghan, Director of the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative. “This is an issue that has only taken on more urgency as Illinois addresses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and confronts historical and contemporary racial injustice. We hope you can join us.”