The goals of the proposed conference, "Advancing the Science of Education, Training and Practice in Trauma," are to: (1) identify empirically-informed knowledge and skills that mental health providers (primarily psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers) treating trauma survivors must have from a "competency" perspective, (2) develop training models to provide services to meet the mental health needs of the broad and diverse trauma survivor population and (3) to determine assessment strategies for measuring competencies for providing services to traumatized children and adults. This scientific endeavor is responsive to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's mission to articulate and disseminate evidence-based information to decision-makers, particularly health care providers. The specific objectives of this small grant conference application are to plan, conduct and disseminate information from a conference on evidence-based interdisciplinary core mental health competences in trauma. In year one month one, the planning committee, a group consisting of internationally known psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers with expertise in trauma, will convene at Yale University under the leadership of Drs. Joan Cook and Elana Newman. The committee reflects diversity in gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and age. At this meeting the committee will meet to begin to articulate core competencies, refine the organization of the consensus conference, discuss dissemination of conference proceedings, and plan for next steps to advance the science of provider training. An online survey will be conducted to assess mental health practitioners'opinions regarding the preliminary list of identified core competencies. The formal conference will take place at the end of year one and outcomes will include a special issue of an American Psychological Association journal (Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research Practice and Policy). Conference proceedings will also be disseminated in webcasts and webinars, as well as annotated bibliographies and professional newsletters. Importantly, several national organizations (i.e., the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for PTSD, the VA National Center for Homelessness and the American Psychological Association's Division of Trauma Psychology) have agreed to provide supplementary funding for interagency collaboration of this important endeavor.
Trauma and its negative effects on mental and physical health and functioning have been recognized as a high priority public health issue. Identifying and promoting empirically-informed interdisciplinary mental health core competencies for treating trauma is essential to improving the outcome of persons exposed to traumatic experiences.