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Honoring Dan Press' Life and Legacy

The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) is saddened to announce that our co-founder and counsel, Daniel Press, passed away yesterday after a long battle with lung cancer.

Dan fought hard and never stopped working, despite his declining health. His love and passion for the trauma-informed movement inspired so many lives. He was fiercely dedicated to supporting advocates across the country, working tirelessly to promote healing and resilience.

Over forty years of advocacy and counsel alongside and on behalf of Native American tribes and reservations exposed Dan to how the cycles of trauma could perpetuate across generations with negative health and societal outcomes. He cared about the families and communities he worked with and knew there had to be a better way moving forward.

After learning about intergenerational trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), it clicked. Dan was compelled to help mobilize advocates and educate federal policymakers on Capitol Hill. After attending countless conferences and meetings with leading experts, he developed a framework and network that ultimately led to the creation of CTIPP.

Once CTIPP launched, he developed reports and expanded the organization through Community Advocacy Network (CTIPP CAN) calls to connect advocates with resources, lived experiences, and transformative work that could be replicated in their communities. Dan was also a driving force behind the National Trauma Campaign, the Building the Movement to Prevent Trauma and Foster Resilience series, and PressOn (which will forever share his name).

It is fitting that one of his last writings focused on PressOn, a national coalition that unites local, state, and regional trauma-informed coalitions to propel the movement forward. From Dan:

“More and more communities, institutions, and organizations throughout the country are applying what scientists have taught us about the impact that childhood and historical trauma have on our society, contributing to so many of the intractable health and social problems that plague us, including substance use, suicide, high school drop-outs, poor work performance, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and others.

“And while so much activity is occurring at the local level, the trauma-informed movement has not yet become a national force that has grabbed the attention of policymakers at all levels, who continue to pour billions of dollars into programs that are addressing the symptoms of the problem rather than the underlying cause: trauma.

“As a result, trauma-informed programs, particularly local trauma-informed cross-sector coalitions, struggle for funding and staff, while the problems listed above continue to cost millions of lives and billions of dollars. One of the goals of PressOn is to create a national advocacy movement that changes this dynamic and puts trauma-informed science at the forefront of policymaking and funding.

“In addition to advocacy, PressOn will provide its member organizations with a national network of trauma-informed entities that connects them. Too frequently, local trauma-informed coalitions and organizations feel isolated and alone. PressOn will enable them to feel connected to a national movement.

“It will also provide a vehicle for trauma-informed organizations to communicate, share their experiences, and help others grow and learn from each other. It will assist new trauma-informed coalitions to grow and flourish, will disseminate information on new scientific studies that help to make the case for trauma-informed practices, and collect and disseminate data on the successful accomplishments of trauma-informed programs.

“In summation, it will be the switchboard connecting the national trauma-informed movement.”

In 2018, Dan received the Public Advocacy Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for "Outstanding and Fundamental Contributions to Advancing the Social Understanding of Trauma" and in 2019, CTIPP was selected by the American Psychiatric Association to receive the APA’s Distinguished Service Award for meritorious service to the field of psychiatry.

He also authored "A How-To Handbook on Creating Comprehensive, Integrated Trauma-Informed Initiatives in Native American Communities."

Dan has been and will always be CTIPP’s fire, and we will miss his endless energy, passion, tenacity, wisdom, and kindness. We know his spirit will live on through the trauma-informed movement that continues to advance because of his foundational work, and CTIPP will continue to sustain and scale its efforts in his honor.

Highlights from Dan’s Work to Build the Movement:

We recognize that this is heavy news and Dan had tremendous relationships with so many people.


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