ChristianaCare was recognized by the State of Delaware as a recipient of the 2021 Governor’s Compassionate Champion Award, given to individuals and organizations that go above and beyond in providing trauma-informed services and care.
“We believe that helping others with compassion and generosity and showing respect to everyone are more than aspects of trauma-informed care—they are part of the values that define ChristianaCare,” said Erin Booker, LPC, vice president of behavioral health and social care integration.
“Taking a trauma-informed care approach helps our providers develop a more trusting relationship with our neighbors, allowing everyone to engage more fully in health care and also improve long-term health outcomes.”
Special recognition was given to ChristianaCare caregivers Stacey Boyer, PsyD, and Megan O’Hara, LCSW, for their efforts in providing trauma-informed health care, which acknowledges the role trauma may play in an individual’s life and includes ways to help the person feel safe, provide comfort and offer support.
“This year, more than ever, it has been crucial to serve with compassion and an understanding of trauma and its effects,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney.
“Our Compassionate Champion Award recipients have gone above and beyond to make Delaware and its citizens stronger, healthier and more compassionate. We thank them for all they do for the community,”
ChristianaCare was honored as a trauma-informed provider of health care services. The award is based on the criteria in the Delaware Developmental Framework for Trauma-Informed Care. It recognizes those individuals or organizations that have taken steps toward providing services in a manner consistent with trauma-informed care.
The eight award recipients were recognized during a virtual event hosted by Gov. Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillan Carney.
She said the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year provided even more evidence of the need for trauma-informed care to support and strengthen communities throughout Delaware. With the right tools, she said, trauma and challenge need not be destiny—a better future is possible.
O’Hara, who works with ChristianaCare’s perinatal population, said the pandemic has taken a toll on new parents, adding toxic stress and isolation as a result of COVID-related separations.
“They’ve had no access to supportive relationships they would normally have during this major life event,” O’Hara said.
Boyer acknowledged it has also been a struggle for health care professionals.
“My work has been pretty exclusively trauma-focused, but never before have I had the experience of being a professional who is actively experiencing what we can call collective trauma—something that is changing the very fabric of our society—while also providing care for others who are being actively traumatized,” she said.
During a year filled with loss and pain, trauma-informed care can help people by getting to the root of suffering and affecting change, Boyer added.
“As human beings we are complex and we need to be understood. We need to feel safe enough to engage in care and have a voice and choices in our care.”