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Grow The Evidence Base for Trauma-Informed, Trauma-Responsive, and Trauma-Specific Practices, Programs, and Supports

While trauma and its related impacts have been a part of the human experience for millennia, trauma as a field of study is relatively young. We are continuing to learn about what helps and what hurts every day thanks to developments and innovations from those building upon our knowledge base on trauma-informed approaches, the field of Neuroscience, Epigenetics, ACEs, and Resilience (NEAR science), and other important frameworks that inform our individual and collective responses to trauma and adversity.


In policymaking, leveraging the best research is crucial to ensure our systems and institutions enact effective solutions. Despite significant progress in recent years, gaps in knowledge and limitations in existing research and understanding warrant further investigation to inform effective advocacy as well as implementation. It is critical that we persist in refining our understanding of trauma's complex dynamics, exploring the varied pathways to healing, and rigorously evaluating the effectiveness of various interventions across diverse experiences and identities.

Building a robust evidence base is not merely an academic exercise; in fact, it is important as we continue to expand the evidence base on trauma-informed, healing-centered, and resilience-building practices and protective factors that we redefine our society’s concept of what constitutes “strong evidence.” 

Integrating the expertise and wisdom of lived experiences of navigating trauma and adversity into shared learning ensures that all ways of thinking, being, knowing, doing, and relating carry equal weight in devising cross-system, cross-sector solutions for individual and collective transformation.


Expanding our evidence base, drawing both from lived experience of trauma and adversity as well as trauma-informed research methods such as participatory action research and empowerment evaluation, are essential investments in our world’s well-being, paving the way for the development and implementation of effective trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and trauma-specific practices, programs, and supports so that all may flourish and thrive.


​ This dimension of the vision calls for us to:

  • Direct grant funding to deepen knowledge on trauma science, NEAR concepts, and other relevant research to better understand impacts of chronic stress, adversity, and trauma across the life course

    • Establish and support state-level and community-level trauma-informed research collaboratives that bring together diverse groups and individuals who care about and/or stand to be impacted by change efforts, including researchers, practitioners, and individuals with lived experience of trauma and adversity

  • Ensure equity in research funding distribution, prioritizing research to advance the knowledge base related to healing and preventing trauma among groups and populations that have traditionally been excluded from or less centered in existing research

    • Fund studies addressing disparities in trauma experiences and responses among diverse communities

    • Support learning around addressing intergenerational trauma as well as implementation of resilence-based and culturally-sustaining practices to counter impacts of individuals and groups with legacies of trauma

    • Establish mechanisms for ongoing review and improvement of trauma-informed research protocols

  • Allocate direct grant funding to promote inclusive, transparent, and participatory research practices that engage individuals and communities with lived experience of trauma and adversity

    • Incentivize meaningful collaboration between researchers and those with lived experience of trauma and adversity

    • Implement and standardize trauma-informed protections and mechanisms to thwart exploitation and harm in research practices

  • Promote open access to research findings to ensure wider accessibility and knowledge sharing

  • Task federal- or state-level entities to translate research findings into practical tools and resources for diverse audiences as well as to disseminate such findings to raise public consciousness

  • Support studies on trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and trauma-specific approaches and interventions

    • Incentivize collaboration and partnerships between federal research agencies, academic institutions, entities engaged in practice-based research, and trauma-impacted individuals, groups, communities, and populations to generate and advance empirically-supported intervention development and implementation

    • Provide grants to pilot and evaluate trauma-responsive and trauma-specific programs and interventions in various settings

  • Integrate trauma-informed research methods and principles into research curricula at public universities

  • Incentivize ongoing professional development for researchers across various disciplines on trauma-informed methodologies

  • Expand appropriations for innovative education and research to evaluate and scale trauma-informed integrated service models for individual and collective recovery and prevention

  • Allocate funding to investigate effective interventions for collective healing and prevention

    • Fund research efforts to better understand, prevent, and respond to large-scale collective traumas (e.g., pandemics, natural disasters, etc.)

  • Develop replicable, reliable, and valid standardized tools to expand knowledge and understanding of trauma, its impacts, and diverse recovery pathways

    • Develop regulatory measures that protect privacy while facilitating the sharing of information on best practices for detecting, treating, and preventing trauma

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