Trauma Interest Working Group

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

Vision Statement

All people deserve a life free from trauma. Though trauma is linked to systemic challenges, and exposure to trauma is linked to inequities, trauma does not need to be a foregone consequence of these societal problems. As scholars, practitioners, and community members, we believe that the University of Chicago has a unique opportunity to advance this vision to reduce the burden of trauma and improve health equity on the South Side.

We focus on the treatment and prevention of trauma, as well as on elevating this critical work at the University of Chicago and its surrounding communities. We envision the University of Chicago holistically addressing the needs of South Side communities and playing a proactive role in reducing the perpetuation of systemic, intergenerational trauma in surrounding neighborhoods.

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, medicine, social work, public health policy, sociology, community advocacy, and more—TIWG advances a rigorous, scientific, and compassionate approach to the treatment and prevention of trauma. Our goal is to improve the University’s response to current instances of trauma, namely via UChicago Medicine’s Adult Trauma Center, while increasing institutional awareness of inequitable systems that may generate community trauma.



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

  • Collaborate Across Disciplines
    • We believe diverse perspectives and expertise are necessary for a trauma-informed paradigm shift. Disciplines represented may include: mental health, law, social work, public policy, medicine, public health, community, environmental science, human development, economics, and sociology.
  • Drive Health Equity
    • 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.
  • Confront the Ecology 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.


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

Scott J. Hunter, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, and Pediatrics, Director of Neuropsychology

Micere Keels, PhD, Associate Professor, Comparative Human Development

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

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

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

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

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

Tanya Zakrison, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Surgery

Speaker Series

Our 2020-2021 TIWG Speaker Series is focused on the theme of Schools, Stress and the Pandemic. The goal is to bring together UChicago faculty and practitioners, parents, teachers, and community members to discuss and better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted students’ relationships with schools and its implications for resilient recoveries.

The monthly talks take place via Zoom on Fridays from 12-1pm CT. Registration for upcoming talks is available on the Mansueto Institute Events page

Watch recordings from this series:

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.

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).