CSULB Awarded $534,579 to Establish Trauma Recovery Center at St. Mary Medical Center

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The California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board has awarded Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) a $534,579 grant for a project with St. Mary Medical Center that will establish the Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center (LBTRC), just the second center of its kind in the state.

Expected to open in April, the new LBTRC will be operated by CSULB and housed at St. Mary Medical Center. The primary goal of the project is to create a comprehensive model of trauma and mental health care for victims of crime and their families while removing barriers to care for underserved victims of crime.

“The Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center will provide direct mental health treatment to approximately 300 victims of violence or their family members and provide outreach and educational messages to countless others during the initial grant period,” said Bita Ghafoori, CSULB professor of advanced studies in education and counseling and director of the LBTRC project.  “The center will focus on the poor, the uninsured and others who wouldn’t ordinarily access these services.”

Among the services the center will provide are mental health services to victims of crime and their families; social services and medical patient navigation to victims of crime; comprehensive community outreach utilizing the expertise of established community based organizations; clinical case management; assistance with crime victim compensation documentation; and coordination of care between professionals serving victims of crime.

“St. Mary Medical Center, Dignity Health is the ideal location for this innovative Trauma Recovery Center,” said President/CEO Tom Salerno. “We have a patient-centered approach to caring and a progressive culture of kindness here at St Mary. Our trauma team is excellent at treating all injuries and illnesses and our acute rehab team gets patients back to the best that they can be.

“In the spring, we will provide this new service, allowing St. Mary to be the place where victims of crime and trauma can get help for their emotional wounds,” Salerno added. “We look forward to working with Cal State Long Beach to provide this new mental health service to the Southern California community.”

Ghafoori described the LBTRC as “a true collaboration across multiple sectors of the city,” including St. Mary Medical Center, Dignity Health (health care), CSULB (academia), Centro CHA (Latino community-based organization), Interval House (domestic violence housing and support organization), and the Center Long Beach (LGBTQ community-based organization).

Also involved with the project are the Long Beach Police Department (law enforcement), Los Angeles County District Attorney and Long Beach City Prosecutor (judicial), and Long Beach’s City Manager Office (local government) with each agency’s participation arising from the City of Long Beach’s Violence Prevention Plan, which went into effect at the beginning of the new year.

The LBTRC will include a multidisciplinary group of community professionals, behavioral scientists and clinicians dedicated to providing education, services and treatment to victims of violence.  The trauma center team will work together to study best practices for violence intervention comprehensively and to provide evidence-based, actionable solutions for victims of violence, educators, industry, government and other stakeholders.

Also involved with the center will be master’s degree students in social work and marriage and family therapy, who will served as interns and trainees. “The use of interns is one of the LBTRC’s core contributions to the community,” noted Ghafoori, who coordinates CSULB’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program as well as its counseling programs.  “The center will help train the next generation of mental health care providers to use evidence-based practices to work with victims of violent crime, especially those from diverse backgrounds.”

The first trauma recovery center (TRC) in California is the San Francisco TRC, a collaboration between San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco.  Ghafoori said it is an award-winning, nationally recognized program that serves some of northern California’s most vulnerable individuals—victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, gunshot injuries, stabbings and family members of homicide victims.  It is considered a highly successful program based on results from a randomized controlled trial.

With the funding from the Victims Compensation Government Claim Board set, the LBTRC is poised for success and sustainability with The California Endowment confirming its financial support for the center as well.

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