The Office of Advocacy and Reform (OAR), established by Governor Tom Wolf’s 2019 executive order to protect Pennsylvania’s vulnerable populations, today announced the launch of a volunteer think tank comprised of 25 experts representing a diversity of fields and backgrounds who will develop a plan to make Pennsylvania a trauma-informed state.
“The people of Pennsylvania are compassionate, thoughtful and resilient. We take care of each other, and that drive to protect our families and our neighbors has never been more obvious than these past few months as we’ve bonded together to fight COVID-19,” said Gov. Wolf. “This group of experts, led by the Office of Advocacy and Reform, will build on this foundation to ensure that local and state government agencies use trauma-informed principles to guide all decisions that affect Pennsylvanians and that we continue to improve our systems that protect vulnerable populations. Thank you to these volunteers for their efforts to build a trauma-informed Pennsylvania.”
As a companion to the governor’s multi-agency effort and anti-stigma campaign, Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters, aimed at expanding resources and the state’s comprehensive support of mental health and related health care priorities in Pennsylvania, OAR announced in January that the agency was looking for a group of cutting-edge thinkers and practitioners in the field of trauma, and how the brain heals from its effects, to form a think tank.
The group will focus on setting guidelines, benchmarks, and goals for trauma-informed care across the commonwealth. In addition, the group is also expanding its original mandate to strategize how to heal the trauma that all Pennsylvanians are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our work is more important than ever,” said Dan Jurman, Executive Director of the Office of Advocacy and Reform. “Every Pennsylvanian is experiencing trauma and toxic stress right now, affecting the behavioral health of each and every one of us.”
To read the full press release, click here.