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Social Work Students Help CTIPP Chart a Path for the Future

Article courtesy of Bryn Mawr College

The Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) is an organization with broadly ambitious goals that looks to bring together organizations, policy makers, and individuals from across sectors and systems to “create a resilient, trauma-informed society where all individuals, families, and communities have the opportunity and support needed to thrive.”

Members of the organization are knowledgeable, dedicated, and believe in their ability to enact change. However, the leadership of the all-volunteer based organization realized there were some things that needed to change for CTIPP to reach its full potential.

To help facilitate that change, they turned to executive board member Meagan Corrado of Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work.

Corrado and Bryn Mawr social work students Genesis Rubio, Mari Flamm, Melissa Garfinkel, and Michelle White spent from October of 2019 to May of 2020 reviewing every aspect of CTIPP’s organization.From left: Diane Wagenhals (CTIPP board), Jesse Kohler (CTIPP board), Mari Flamm (BMC), Meagan Corrado (BMC and CTIPP), and Sandra Bloom (CTIPP)

From left: Diane Wagenhals (CTIPP board), Jesse Kohler (CTIPP board), Mari Flamm (BMC), Meagan Corrado (BMC and CTIPP), and Sandra Bloom (CTIPP)

“CTIPP’s board comprises an engaged, passionate group of people who specialize in various facets of trauma-informed practice and advocacy,” says Corrado. “Although we have each made contributions to the larger trauma field, we all have very busy schedules that make it difficult for us to devote a significant amount of time to building the organizational infrastructure that CTIPP needs in order to be trauma-informed and sustainable. The time, effort, and energy that BMC devoted to this work was invaluable in helping CTIPP reevaluate its infrastructure and work toward subsequent changes.”

The Bryn Mawr students participated in a series of meetings with the CTIPP board to identify the organization’s areas of need. Poring over board minutes, reviewing organizational documents, and working collaboratively with Corrado, the students supported the organization in evaluating their organizational structure and developing a plan for improvement.

“When we set up CTIPP as an organization, we all had the best of intentions,” says Sandra L. Bloom, CTIPP chair. “We are all highly qualified to educate members of Congress about trauma and adversity and all it means for our culture. What we were not nearly as qualified to do was to adequately structure a new organization from scratch without staff and without a budget.”

“CTIPP was of particular interest to me because I love to learn about the ways clinical work (trauma) and macro work (trauma-informed policies) overlap,” says Mari Flamm. “Working with CTIPP gave me so much insight into the way macro workers use their clinical skills to push for organizational changes and interventions. It also gave me a lot of insight into the power dynamics that can come into play in organizations (even trauma-informed organizations!) and the various ways that those interpersonal dynamics need to be navigated within organizational structures.”

Bloom says the work of Corrado and the Bryn Mawr students—who all volunteered for the work because of their interest in macro-level social work—has been indispensable in moving CTIPP forward. “They were able to help us lay out exactly what we need to do to create a healthier and more sustainable organizational culture.”

In addition to helping CTIPP, Corrado believes the experience has proven to be a great benefit for the students who took part. “This experience represented a real-world opportunity for students to integrate and apply their understanding of macro social work practice beyond their classroom and field placement experiences. Students expanded their repertoire of macro social work skills, cultivated meaningful community connections, and expanded their knowledge and understanding of organizational culture and system change.”