Trauma Interest Work Group

The Trauma Interest Work Group (TIWG) promotes the scientific, interdisciplinary understanding of trauma; and works to improve equity and justice on the South Side of Chicago and beyond. We do this through education, scholarship, clinical care, community engagement, and advocacy.


Vision Statement

Everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive. As scholars, practitioners, and community members, we believe that the University of Chicago is uniquely positioned, and has an obligation to mitigate the burden of trauma and improve equity and justice for residents of the South Side and beyond. TIWG pursues this vision by establishing a multidisciplinary dialogue and taking an ecological approach to the complexities of trauma at the individual, relational, community and institutional levels. By communicating and strategizing across disciplines—including clinical work, social work, public health policy, sociology, community advocacy, and more—TIWG advances a rigorous, scientific, and compassionate approach to the understanding, treatment, and prevention of trauma. Our goal is to improve the University’s response to current and future instances of trauma, while increasing institutional awareness of inequitable systems and structural violence.

TIWG is supported by the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation and we would like to expand this multidisciplinary dialogue through national and international partnerships.


The below values guide our actions and activities in pursuit of this vision: 

  • Collaboration Across Disciplines
    • We believe diverse perspectives are necessary for a trauma-informed paradigm shift. We aim to integrate voices across the following areas:   psychology, law, social work, public policy, medicine, public health, local communities, environmental science, human development, economics, and sociology.
  • Health Equity through Trauma-Informed Practices
    • We work to change practices, structures, and policies to realize health equity in the communities directly served by the University of Chicago and its hospitals.  
  • An Intersectional Understanding of Trauma
    • We recognize the connections and interdependencies among individual, community, and structural manifestations of trauma and take a systems-approach to reducing the burden of trauma.

Join Us

TIWG welcomes additional researchers, practitioners and advocates with a focus on trauma to participate in Work Group activities. TIWG meets monthly to discuss collaboration opportunities, including events, overlapping research, advisory roles, and information sharing. To receive meeting notices, TIWG updates, and learn about upcoming events, please join the TIWG listserv.



Honey Crawford, PhD, Harper-Schmidt Fellow, Collegiate Assistant Professor in TAPS

Sonya Mathies Dinizulu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, Chair of the Trauma Interest Working Group

Seeba Anam, MD, Assistant Professor, Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

Yael Hoffman, MPH, LSW, Project Manager, REACT Program, University of Chicago Dept of Pediatrics

Micere Keels, PhD, Associate Professor, Comparative Human Development

Royce Lee, MD, Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience

Doriane Miller, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Community Health and Vitality

Bradley Stolbach, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Chicago Department of Pediatrics

Debra Allen, BSN, RN, CCRN, UChicago Medicine Clinical Director of Trauma Services

Deborah Boyle, Co-Director, UCM Perinatal Center, PI FIMR (Fetal and Infant Mortality Review)

Franklin Cosey-Gay, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention

Gina Fedock, PhD, Assistant Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Ebony Hinton, fourth year doctoral student, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Kristen Jacobson, Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience

Kristin Juskiewicz, MA, UChicago Clinical Neuroscience & Psychopharmacology Research Unit

Barrett Kern, Postdoctoral Scholar, Diagnostic Interviewer, Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology/Psychiatry Dept

Stacy Lindau, MD, MAPP, Professor and Director, South Side Health and Vitality Studies

Amanda Long, Postdoctoral Fellow, Clinical Health Psychology

Tracye Matthews, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture

Candice Norcott, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience

Gina E. Miranda Samuels, Associate Professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and Faculty Affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture

Elizabeth Tung, MD, MS, Instructor of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine

Tanya Zakrison, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery

Upcoming Events

Community Perspectives on Safety Series

“What Does Safety Mean to You? Community Perspectives on Safety Speaker Series” curates a set of forums that explores the various meanings of safety. We will explore policies, practices, and attitudes within their historical and current contexts, affecting the University of Chicago campus and our surrounding communities. All voices and perspectives will be welcome and valued. Join the TIWG listserv to stay notified about events.

Past Events

Community Perspectives on the Role of Tech in Public Safety - 05/10/2024

Community Perspectives on the Role of Tech in Public Safety

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST

Hybrid (In-person lunch will be provided.)

1155 E. 60th Street, Room 140C

What role does technology play in public safety? What constitutes a “community” perspective on the topic? This panel dives deeper into these questions from the perspective of activists pushing for stronger regulations or the abolition of public investments in surveillance technologies.

Speakers: Robert Vargas, Associate Professor of Sociology, Deputy Dean at the University of Chicago; Navi Heer, Urban Planner, Designer, and Community Organizer; Jasson Perez, Community, Labor, and Social Movement Organizer

Professor Robert Vargas is a sociologist interested in research on cities, law, and race. His writing and teaching focus on identifying the political-economic forces shaping neighborhood conditions and city responses to social problems. He has published in a variety of journals such as Social Problems, Criminology, and Social Science and Medicine. Professor Vargas has won numerous awards such as the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. His research has been featured in numerous media outlets such as NBC News, Telemundo, Univision, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, and National Public Radio.

Navi Heer (she/they) is a Chicago-based urban planner, designer, and community organizer. She is a first generation immigrant and grew up in California’s Central Valley with a large Punjabi / South Asian community that practiced mutual aid, community care, and different non-police responses to create safety. She is an organizer with Chicago’s Stop ShotSpotter coalition to end the use of the harmful, ineffective technology in the city and to invest in community solutions to prevent and reduce gun violence.

Jasson Perez is a community, labor, and social movement organizer recognized both locally in Chicago and nationally.  His main areas of organizing have been fighting the privatization of public schools and parks and organizing to stop mass incarceration,  criminalization, and policing. You can find Jasson’s writing and research at Dissent, Spectre, Jacobin, Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) and the Cook Center on Social Equity

PSY DEI Committee Film Screening Series Presents: Shame of Chicago - 03/21/2024

PSY DEI Committee Film Screening Series Presents: Shame of Chicago

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience’s DEI committee, co-sponsored by the Trauma Interest Work Group, the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, and the BSD Diversity and Inclusion grants program presents a pre-release screening of the upcoming Documentary Series, Shame of Chicago.

“Centering Black voices and experiences, the series also brings to life the resistance Black Chicagoans mounted throughout the 20th century in the face of virulent and systemic discrimination at nearly every level of government and the private sector. The series will examine how these policies were the model for cities and communities around the country and more broadly how residential housing segregation became a key contributor to the nation’s current wealth gap between Black and white Americans.” 


March 21 / Thursday


5:30 pm CST

Lobby of the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (KCBD)


6:30 pm CST

Room 1103, Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery (KCBD)

Following the screening there will be a moderated discussion with the Producer and Co-Writer, Chris Jenkins.




Emerging Public Health Violence Prevention - 01/26/2024

Franklin N. Cosey-Gay presentation description:

Addressing root causes of violence has become a famous phrase as an emerging public health approach to violence prevention. However, seldom are the processes explicitly described to help uncover how these root causes shape factors that act as barriers to promoting healthy, violent-free communities. This presentation will outline specific historic events that have weakened BIPOC Chicago communities and describe community-based and hospital-based approaches to combat root causes.


1) Participants will review a timeline of historical events that serve as root causes of violence in many American cities, including Chicago
2) Participants will be able to differentiate between community-based (CVI) and hospital-based violence prevention interventions (HVIP).
3) Participants will learn about some collaborative approaches to combat root cause of violence in Chicago.

Featured Speaker: Franklin N. Cosey-Gay

Executive Director, Community & External Affairs and Director, Urban Health Initiative, University of Chicago Medicine

Trauma-Informed Housing- 5/5/2023

Trauma-Informed Housing (TIH) is a model adapted by POAH that recognizes the likelihood of trauma and is rooted in the science of resilience and healing. The TIH model centers on these principles: safety and trust, choice and empowerment, community and collaboration, and beauty and joy. POAH applies TIH to building design, community-driven real estate development, supportive services, and organizational culture change. Julianna will discuss POAH’s TIH approach, including ways that collaborative co-design with residents and frontline staff creates opportunities to reshape communities to promote well-being and equity for everyone.

Featured Speaker: Julianna Stuart

Vice President of Community Impact at Preservation of Affordable Housing

Violence Here, Violence There: The Impacts of Compound Violence on Undocumented Mexicans’ Migration and US Settlement - 1/13/2023

Contemporary Mexican migration to the United States is conventionally framed as voluntary labor migration sustained by economic disparity. This approach obscures violence as a potential driver of migration and settlement for the estimated 5.3 million undocumented Mexican immigrants residing in the US today. Such a shortcoming reflects an engrained post-World War II distinction between people whose migration is considered voluntary and economically motivated and those whose border crossing is considered forced and politically motivated. In this talk, I draw on in-depth interviews with 145 undocumented Mexican adults residing in the US to examine experiences of violence across communities of origin, transit, and destination. Theorizing a framework of compound violence, I demonstrate that an arc of physical, legal, and anticipatory violence shapes both decisions to migrate and the process of becoming rooted in the United States. By centering the question of violence within a quintessential case of voluntary labor migrants, this study contributes to an on-going reassessment of theory and narratives used by scholars, policymakers, and advocates around the voluntary economic and forced political migration binary.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Angela Garcia,

Assistant Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

The Forced Migration from Chicago Public Housing - 11/4/2022

Ben Austen will talk about Chicago’s Plan for Transformation, launched in 2000, which led to the city’s tearing down every public housing high-rise for families. The talk will be broken into three rough parts. 1) The myths and realities of public housing in Chicago in the 1990s, and what went into this vast “urban renewal” project, 2) The actual Plan for Transformation and its goals and implementation, 3) What happened to the tens of thousands of residents–where they went and what sort of assistance they were given as they were relocated, how we are still living with this transformation of the city’s landscape, and what we can learn from it. Within this conversation, Ben will also describe his work and why he ended up writing about public housing in Chicago.

Featured Speaker: Ben Austen

Lecturer, Division of the Humanities in Creative Writing at the University of Chicago

Gun Violence and Trauma Informed Care: What Have We Learned?- 11/19/21

This talk explores the burden of firearm violence on the South Side of Chicago, and the causes of this violence. Dr. Zakrison also shares research findings informing her team’s novel Structural Justice curriculum. This is informed by community, trauma patient and trainee feedback to understand the upstream causes of violence, structural contributions and how to become organized to reduce this structural and moral injury in patients and trauma care providers, alike.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Tanya Zakrison

Professor, Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Director, Critical Trauma Research

The Unequal Impact of COVID-19 School Closures Globally - 4/9/21

Among the many disruptions caused by COVID-19, one of the most dramatic is the extensive school closures throughout the world, affecting over 1.6 billion students worldwide at its peak in March 2020. While some countries have begun to reopen schools in recent months, the impact on today’s students, especially children in low-income households, is likely to be large and long lasting. The systemic trauma of global economic inequality further intensifies this effect for disadvantaged families.

This talk with Emiliana Vegas, Co-director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, explores how will these learning losses affect future generations, how may they affect global income inequality, and what can the international education community do to reduce the risk of growing inequality between low- and high-income countries?

This is the fourth session in the Trauma Interest Working Group Series on the theme of schools, stress, and the pandemic.

A Matter of Media: Expectations and Engagement of Black Youth During COVID-19 - 2/12/21

Pre-existing disparities in access to adequate internet connections and computer technology are being exacerbated by a shift to remote learning during the pandemic that place Black children at a further disadvantage.17 Due to decades of under-investment in Black communities, Black children are more likely to attend schools that have fewer economic resources and less technology to support remote instruction,22 and the pandemic has strained the limited fiscal resources of these schools as they work to provide remote educational experiences. Yet, Black youth are simultaneously engaging media platforms to lead or become involved in racial and social justice initiatives. This talk will highlight opportunities to support Black youth’s academic and social emotional needs during CoViD-19 in virtual spaces.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Valerie N. Adams-Bass is a Developmental Psychologist, an Assistant Professor of Youth and Social Innovation, and a faculty affiliate of the Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on how Black children see themselves and related outcomes. Dr. Adams-Bass is most interested in examining how media exposure influences inter-personal interactions and self-concept. Her research also examines how racial/ethnic socialization experiences and racial identity are related to the process of identity development and the social and the academic experiences of Black children and youth.  Dr. Adams-Bass regularly trains youth development professionals and teachers to use culturally relevant practices when working with Black children and youth and she is a faculty affiliate of The Racial Empowerment Collaborative at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Community Perspectives on Safety: Beyond the Clinic - 04/19/2024

Beyond the Clinic: Behavioral Health Innovation in Local Government

Speaker: Matt Richards, Deputy Commissioner of Behavioral Health, Chicago Department of Public Health

Matt Richards, LCSW, MDiv is Deputy Commissioner of Behavioral Health at the Chicago Department of Public Health where he is the City of Chicago’s lead subject matter expert on behavioral health.  Matt is responsible for the City of Chicago’s five mental health centers, 911 mental health and substance use response teams, behavioral health diversion programs, and all funded programs in mental health, substance use, community violence prevention, and healthcare for the homeless at Chicago Department of Public Health.  Matt has led on the development and implementation of the Framework for Mental Health Equity which has increased the City’s mental health budget by 7-fold since 2019, increased patients served from 3,500 in 2019 to almost 75,000 in 2022, and led to the integration of mental health professionals into the 911 response system for the first time in city history through the Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) program.  Matt has particular interests in crisis response, integrated care, the treatment of serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders, substance use disorder treatment, diversion/deflection, evidence- based practice, religion and public health, and the role of local health departments in coordinating behavioral health systems of care.

Meanings of Safety for Individuals, Families, and Communities After Suffering Violence. - 02/23/2024

Panel description:

The panel discussion will focus on the meanings of safety for individuals, families, and communities after they have suffered violence. How does the process of grieving and sense-making after violence affect how people experience the world they move through and seek to improve? How do competing understandings of safety shape the city we share?


Adam Green, Associate Professor, Departments of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity, History and the College. Chair, RDI Curriculum Committee. Co-Chair, Council on University Community Relations, University of Chicago

Jamie Kalven, Author and journalist; Founder, the Invisible Institute. Recipient of the 2017 Hillman Prize for Web Journalism for “Code of Silence” for The Intercept.

Tre Nowaczynski, Pediatric Violence Recovery Specialist III, Violence Recovery Program, Urban Health Initiative, The University of Chicago Medicine

Violence as a Social Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases - 5/18/2023

Elizabeth Tung, MD, MS, joined us on May 18, 2023, for the Trauma Interest Working Group brown bag series to discuss violence as a social risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases. Dr. Tung is a social epidemiologist and practicing internist in the Section of General Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago. Her current research focuses on intersections between community violence, trauma, and chronic disease. She brings conceptual expertise and detailed knowledge of place-based measures of social risk, and uses geospatial analytical methods in addition to traditional clustered regression techniques in her quantitative work. Her K23 award, funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI), examines violence as a social risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth L. Tung, MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, University of Chicago

Medicine and Human Rights. Screening for Torture and Trauma in Refugees, International and Local at-risk Populations in the Medical Setting. - 2/3/2023

The presentation will focus on reviewing the curriculum and evaluation of a once a month lecture/discussion about Human Rights and Medicine in an ambulatory rotation for Internal Medicine Residents. It focuses on sensitizing and improving Medicine Residents’ ability to screen, assess, and treat, survivors of torture and trauma, through cultural competency training in human rights and medicine. Included is a discussion of the Declaration of Human Rights and its link to Medicine. This training focuses on screening  for symptoms, signs, diagnosis and treatment of trauma due torture and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The two year pre and post lecture evaluation completed by Medical Residents will be presented.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Irene Martinez

Volunteer Attending, Division of General Medicine, John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, IL

Designing and testing interventions to improve humanitarian response - 12/2/2022

Jeannie Annan will give an overview of the International Rescue Committee’s work across countries affected by conflict and disaster. She will highlight how her team works to design and test new or adapted interventions to improve the impact and scale of interventions to address growing humanitarian needs. Her colleague, Britt Titus, who leads the behavioral science practice at IRC, will join her to present a project in Jordan that aims to bridge the mental health treatment gap for Syrian refugees.  In Jordan, surveys from before the pandemic indicated that around 57.0% of refugees and 33.9% of Jordanians in urban areas were experiencing lasting distress, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, and PTSD (IMC, 2019). However, in Amman, only 5% of those in need reported having ever accessed mental health services (Satinsky et al, 2019). While existing interventions focus on strengthening the supply of mental health resources—including funding providers, launching hotlines—IRC developed and is testing a digital intervention informed by behavioral science aimed at confronting the barriers and drivers of demand for mental health services.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Jeannie Annan and Britt Titus

Dr. Jeannie Annan, Senior Research Associate at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and Chief Research and Innovation Officer for the International Rescue Committee

Britt Titus, Behavioral Insights Lead at the International Rescue Committee

Welcoming Newcomers: Addressing trauma and promoting healing in refugee communities - 10/7/22

Dr. Hilado’s presentation will examine the adverse impact of pre-, peri-, and post-migration trauma on adjustment and mental health outcomes for newly arrived refugees and immigrants in the United States. She will discuss the impact of complex trauma, intergenerational trauma, and historical trauma among arriving groups in the last decade and the contextual nature of trauma that influences mental health and treatment trends when accounting for important social identifiers such as race/ethnicity, nationality, age, and gender. The presentation concludes with a discussion of practice, research, and policy implications for promoting healthy individuals, supporting newcomer families, and strengthening refugee and immigrant communities.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Aimee Hilado

Assistant Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

The Power of SPACE in the Midst of HARM - 5/7/21

While in the midst of a global pandemic, the United States is experiencing a long overdue reckoning with racism. The Power of SPACE in the Midst of HARM provides strategies to acknowledge traumas experienced while making SPACE for individual and collective healing. This session is led by Tynisha Jointer LCSW, M.Ed, a social worker, teacher and Behavioral Health Specialist for Chicago Public Schools. Ms. Jointer addresses the challenges of life in the pandemic and related fatigue; the connection to systems of racism and rises in inequity; and shares the power of SPACE as a pathway for healing from these traumas. Ms. Jointer believes that all students, families, staff and community members deserve an opportunity to not only acknowledge trauma, but begin a collective healing journey. She brings an array of experience and expertise having supported students on the ground as a school social worker (in both the Charter and Public School), experience working as a social worker in a behavioral health hospital, as well as network and district level positions to make positive decisions to support students and staffs across the district.

Ms. Jointer has also been a key contributor to the development and facilitation of Chicago Public Schools Healing Centered Project. Outside of Chicago Public Schools, Ms. Jointer currently serves on the Auxiliary Board for the Center for Conflict Resolution, Community Advisory Board for Pilot Light and the Alumni Board for Education Pioneer. A Chicago native and proud product of Chicago Public Schools, Ms. Jointer is passionate about educating all children, staff and school leaders in developing a holistic approach to support student achievement.

This is the fifth and final session in the Trauma Interest Working Group Series on the theme of schools, stress, and the pandemic.

Addressing Inequality with a Next Generation of Community Schools - 3/5/21

COVID-19 has amplified the deep education inequality between American students and in response a new Brookings Task Force on Next Generation Community Schools has recently released its recommendations. The Task Force report finds that a next generation community school approach has the potential both to address widening inequality and to lay the foundations for transforming U.S. schools. The report also finds that a progressive universalism approach is doable and recommends prioritizing those communities hardest hit by the pandemic. The report finds that there are 466 school districts, approximately 4 percent of all districts in the country, that educate approximately 40 percent of the countries children and have the greatest concentrations of students with unmet needs.

In this session, Rebecca Winthrop – Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution and one of the leaders of the task force – discusses the findings of the report and the debates in its development. Conversation is moderated by Lisa Rosen, Assistant Senior Instructional Professor and Associate Director of the Committee on Education at the University of Chicago.

The Task Force report can be accessed here:

Reopening K-12 Schools during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Equity, Ethical and Policy Considerations - 1/22/21

Educating our youth is only one of many roles that K-12 schools play in our society.  In this talk I will consider various equity, ethical and policy considerations regarding schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulties in making policy decisions when information is incomplete and ambiguous.  First, I will share our analysis of state-level documents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia discussing reopening plans for K-12 schools in the 2020-2021 academic year. We examined whether these documents explicitly mentioned equity as a concern, as well as if and how they addressed the following equity issues: food insecurity and child nutrition, homelessness or temporary housing, lack of access to Internet/technology, students with disabilities or special needs, English-language learners, students involved with or on the verge of involvement with the Department of Children and Family Services or an equivalent agency, mental health support, students/staff at greater risk of severe illness from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, and students/staff living with someone at greater risk of severe illness from SARS-CoV-2 infection.  Second, I will discuss risk mitigation strategies and  whether they are adequate for in-person school re-entry.  Third, I will discuss, the pros and cons of parental choice regarding virtual versus in-person school attendance in light of the school’s pedagogical and non-pedagogical roles.

Speaker Bio: Lainie Friedman Ross, M.D., Ph.D., is the Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum Professor of Clinical Medical Ethics; Professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Surgery and the College; Co-Director of the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine, and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Ross earned her AB from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (1982); an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (1986) and a PhD in Philosophy from Yale University (1996). She trained at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and at Babies Hospital of Columbia University now the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian.

Dr Ross is a primary care pediatrician at The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. Her research portfolio focuses on ethical and policy issues in pediatrics, organ transplantation, genetics, and human subjects protections. She has published four books (2 in pediatric ethics) and over 200 articles in the peer-reviewed literature. She was recently awarded a National Library of Medicine grant from the National Institutes of Health to write a book about the role of siblings in health care.


Mental Health Resources


See below for important mental health resources: