This is a presentation on the work of Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (HEARTS) in the San Francisco Unified School District. It includes the effects of complex trauma, with strategies to increase resilience and information on vicarious trauma and self-care. The second part of the workshop will allow time for individuals/teams to consider their own schools and systems, focusing on what ways they are already working toward being trauma informed, as well as ways they might improve.

Dr. Martha Merchant, a licensed psychologist, is currently a consultant with UCSF HEARTS (Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools) in several school-based projects. She provides training, consultation and support for adult members of the students’ caregiving system (teachers, school staff and parents/families) in order to create more trauma-sensitive, safe and supportive school environments. She was the main consultant under Project Prevent for three years in the San Francisco Unified School District, providing training and consultation in seven schools in the Bayview area in San Francisco. Previous to this work, she was a clinician with UCSF HEARTS embedded at El Dorado Elementary School (also in the Bayview) for two years. There she provided direct services, training and consultation to parents, teachers, staff and administration around trauma-sensitive practices, lending a trauma lens to their expertise as educators so that they could be more effective in their work while staying well in the process.