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.


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

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

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

Tanya Zakrison, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery


TIWG is planning a multi-faceted set of programming in 2023, including a Forced Migration Speaker series as well as recurring Brown Bag sessions aimed at highlighting recent programmatic and research activities led by TIWG members, fostering interdisciplinary knowledge exchange around trauma-informed scholarship and practices. See the current schedule below, and refer to the Mansueto Institute events page for registration as it becomes available. Event updates are circulated to the TIWG list serv. Please find instructions for joining the list serve at bottom of this page.



Brown Bag Sessions

May 5 / Friday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST


Watch recording here

Speaker: Julianna Stuart, Vice President of Community Impact at Preservation of Affordable Housing

Title: Trauma-Informed Housing

Abstract: 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.


May 18 / Thursday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST


Watch recording here

Speaker: Elizabeth L. Tung, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, University of Chicago

Title: Violence as a Social Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases

Bio: Elizabeth Tung, MD, MS is a social epidemiologist and practicing internist in the Section of General Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Tung’s research focuses on the impact of social conditions on health, with a special interest in race, place, and poverty. She has participated in community-based strategies to improve health on the South and West Sides of Chicago, which has led to a vested commitment to advancing health equity and eradicating disparities. 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 work plays a vital role in bridging the worlds of violence epidemiology and health. Her K23 award, funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI), examines violence as a social risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.


Forced Migration Speaker Series

Below is the next event of the Forced Migration Speaker Series which explores the multiple manifestations and impacts of forced migration along with its connection to all the work that TIWG is doing on trauma. 


February 3 / Friday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST

Forced Migration Speaker Series: Dr. Irene Martinez, Volunteer Attending, Division of General Medicine, John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, IL

Watch recording here

Title: Medicine and Human Rights. Screening for Torture and Trauma in Refugees, International and Local at-risk Populations in the Medical Setting.

Abstract: 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.

Bio: Irene Martinez, M.D., FACP, was born in Cordoba, Argentina and graduated from medical school at Cordoba National University. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Cook County Hospital Chicago Illinois in 1988, where she has continued to work in public medicine for 35 years. Recently retired, she is currently a Volunteer Attending at the Division of General Medicine. She was an assistant professor in Internal Medicine at Rush Medical School, Chicago, Illinois; and was a 2011 fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. She completed a Public Voices fellowship through the Op Ed project at Rush Hospital in 2020.

Dr. Martinez is a long-time human rights activist. Her work advocates for torture survivors and provides forensic documentation of their abuse. She is co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center-Heartland Alliance Chicago for the Treatment of Victims of Torture, receiving the Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Leadership in Human rights Award in 2006.

Since 2007 she has been faculty for Medicine and Human Rights, a monthly lectures series for medical residents in their ambulatory rotation. The curriculum focuses on refugee health, screening for trauma and torture, the United Nations Declaration of Human Right, and physician participation in torture. Dr. Martinez was co-director, curriculum developer and faculty for the intensive three day workshop Caring For Survivors of Torture, designed for primary care internal medical residents at Rush/Stroger hospital.

An active public wellness advocate, Dr. Martinez has developed innovative clinical programs for enhancing resilience and human dignity.


January 13 / Friday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST

Forced Migration Speaker Series: Angela Garcia, Assistant Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Watch recording here




Title: Violence Here, Violence There: The Impacts of Compound Violence on Undocumented Mexicans’ Migration and US Settlement

Abstract: 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.

Bio: Angela S. García is Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. She is a scholar of migration, membership, law, and the state, with a focus on undocumented migration in the context of US immigration federalism. García’s award-winning book, Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law (University of California Press), compares the impacts of restrictive and accommodating subnational immigration laws for undocumented Mexican communities. Her current work includes a book project on time and undocumented middle life, and a collaborative study on urban inclusion and Chicago’s municipal ID program. García’s scholarship has been published in Social Forces, Social Problems, International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, among other academic outlets. The Russell Sage Foundation, the University of Michigan Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network, and the Chicago Community Trust have provided support for her research, among other funders. García earned a PhD in Sociology and a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego.


December 2 / Friday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CST

Forced Migration Speaker Series: 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 and Britt Titus, Behavioral Insights Lead at the International Rescue Committee 

Watch recording here




Title: Designing and testing interventions to improve humanitarian response

Abstract: 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.

Bios: Jeannie Annan, PhD, is the International Rescue Committee’s Chief Research and Innovation Officer, leading the agency’s efforts to design, test, and scale life-changing solutions for people affected by conflict and disaster. Jeannie co-founded the Airbel Impact Lab, a team of researchers, designers, behavioral scientists, strategists, and analysts working with technical experts, frontline staff and partners to find high impact and scalable products and services in more than 30 crisis-affected countries around the world.

Dr. Annan’s own research focus has been to develop and test economic, behavioral, and mental health interventions to prevent violence and to mitigate its psychological and social consequences on women and children. She started her career leading education and psychosocial programming in Kosovo, northern Uganda and South Sudan. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Harris School of Public Policy at University of Chicago. She is also a research affiliate at Innovations for Poverty Action where she leads their initiatives on humanitarian and forced displacement and on intimate partner violence. She holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington. She was a post-doctorate fellow at Yale University and NYU and a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health.

Britt Titus is the Behavioral Insights Lead at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). To date, she has spent half her in her career as a humanitarian aid worker responding to global emergencies, and the other half, as behavioral scientist studying human behavior and decision-making. In her role at the IRC, her interests lie at the intersection of these two areas, as she works to embed behavioral science into humanitarian research and innovation projects, with the aim of improving outcomes in education, women’s health, mental health, climate adaptation and malnutrition.


November 4 / Friday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CT

Forced Migration Speaker Series: Ben Austen, Lecturer, Division of the Humanities in Creative Writing at the University of Chicago

Watch recording here




Title: The Forced Migration from Chicago Public Housing

Abstract: Ben 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.

Bio: Ben Austen is a journalist and the author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, which was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Nonfiction and named one of the best books of 2018 by BooklistMother Jones and the public libraries of Chicago and St. Louis. He is the co-host, with historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad, of the Pushkin Industries podcast Some of My Best Friends Are…. A former editor at Harper’s Magazine, Ben was also story consultant on the podcast The City and a senior fellow at the Invisible Institute. His feature writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Wired and many other publications. His book Correction: Parole, Prison and the Possibility of Change will be published by Flatiron in 2023.


October 7 / Friday

12:00 pm-1:00 pm CT

Forced Migration Speaker Series: Aimee Hilado, Assistant Professor Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Watch recording here




Title: Welcoming Newcomers: Addressing trauma and promoting healing in refugee communities.

Abstract: 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.

Bio: Aimee Hilado, Ph.D., LCSW is a ZERO TO THREE Fellow, licensed clinical social worker, and academic researcher specializing in immigration trauma and refugee mental health. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice where she teaches and conducts research on complex trauma, early childhood and adult mental health, and clinical practice with forcibly displaced populations. Her work is informed by over a decade of clinical experience with diverse global populations across the lifespan, specializing in infant mental health, practice with unaccompanied children, and forensic psychological evaluations for asylum-seekers.


Watch recordings from past TIWG events

This includes the 2020-2021 TIWG Speaker Series focused on  Schools, Stress and the Pandemic, and past Brown Bag sessions.


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 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.

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.

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:

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.

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:

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 and TIWG updates, please visit and sign up for our listserv: (UChicago email address required).