The Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program at The Ohio State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health focuses on three areas: support for professionals, support for survivors and leading-edge research on the impact of stress and trauma.
“The STAR Trauma Recovery Center (STAR TRC) — one of the first of its kind in the Midwest and federally funded through a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant — provides comprehensive psychiatric care that is specially equipped to assist with particularly traumatic incidents,” explains program director Ken Yeager, PhD.
Trauma is defined as an event, a series of events or a set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening. It can have lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and on his or her mental, physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being.
“Survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault constitute the bulk of program participants at this point,” Dr. Yeager, who is a professor – clinical at the College of Medicine, says, “but we also receive referrals for survivors of gun violence and other crimes or traumatic incidents, including identity theft, robbery, non-domestic physical assault, kidnapping, human trafficking or having a family member or loved one die from homicide.”
A comprehensive approach
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Emergency Department and other medical center physicians refer patients directly to the STAR TRC. In addition, other hospitals — and even other trauma centers in Columbus or the nearby region — also frequently refer individuals because of STAR TRC’s extensive programming and level of psychiatric care. “Our approach is based on a specialized understanding of survivor needs, both immediately following an incident and long-term,” Dr. Yeager says. “We have standardized assessments based on research, and our evidence-based treatment is given with compassion and respect for each person.”
Center services are available free of charge, and survivors of traumatic events receive not only counseling, but also case management and medication management. In addition to community outreach to build awareness in underserved populations who are frequently unable to access care, TRC team members are also committed to victim advocacy.
Because each trauma experience is unique, treatment is tailored to the individual. Care teams may include physicians, licensed social workers, clinical counselors, case managers, psychiatrists, nurses and other professionals who coordinate internal and community resources to navigate each recovery process.
Sharing best practices
“Ohio State had one of the region’s first trauma centers up and running, so we’ve seen many of the challenges newer trauma centers may initially face,” Dr. Yeager says. “To help them avoid or more quickly correct issues, we’re dedicated to efforts that promote peer collaboration. We also actively support efforts to establish a national network of trauma recovery centers.”
As one aspect of this commitment, Ohio State hosts an annual Midwest Trauma Recovery Center Symposium each year to share best practices and keep attendees informed of progress at each individual center. “We’ve had growing participation each year, and we’re looking forward to our third symposium in fall 2020,” Dr. Yeager says.
To learn more about the STAR TRC at Ohio State, please call 614-293-7827 (STAR) or email STARTraumaRecoveryCenter@osumc.edu. To request detailed information about the 2020 Midwest symposium, please email Kenneth.Yeager@osumc.edu.
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