Emerging research has changed the understanding of trauma and its impact on development over time. Trauma-informed social work practice combines an understanding of developmental, neurobiological and social-ecological approaches to social work to help a range of clients.
With a transformational gift from Joanna Berwind Creamer, M.S.S. '16, the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR) will develop curriculum that translates the research on early adversity and trauma for children, adolescents, and young adults into highly effective practice models.
“We are deeply appreciative that Joanna is supporting the GSSWSR’s longstanding expertise at addressing the intersection between theory and practice,” President Kim Cassidy said. “Her foresight and generosity is transformative for both our students and the communities they will go on to serve. I have welcomed the opportunity to get to know Joanna as this gift has come to fruition, and I am inspired by her passion and commitment to helping youth reach their full potential.”
As a member of the Council on Social Work Education’s task force focused on trauma-informed practice, GSSWSR Dean Janet Shapiro is excited to spearhead the development of this new curricular initiative.
“Joanna’s leadership and generosity is allowing us, in turn, to become leaders in social work education in the realm of trauma-informed social work with an emphasis on child and adolescent wellbeing and youth development. Building on the expertise of our faculty, this transformational gift will allow us to partner with others to develop core courses and curricular materials in our Master of Social Service program, to expand opportunities for field education and practice, and to create continuing education and professional development programming for community-based professionals,” said Shapiro. “We are so grateful Joanna shares our commitment to fully preparing our graduates to address challenges in trauma-informed social work practice.”
Creamer’s support is instrumental in building upon the strengths of the GSSWSR while at the same time meeting the needs of today’s practitioners.
“There are very few training opportunities in child and adolescent mental health in the Philadelphia region, even fewer in trauma-informed approaches,” Shapiro explains. “Social workers need to understand how early life events can continuously sculpt development and create pathways of risk and resiliency over time.”
For Creamer, whose own work focuses on strengths-based youth programs, the gift is a perfect fit. Creamer’s time at the GSSWSR means she knows firsthand the excellence of the faculty and the dedication of the students. “I love Janet," says Creamer. "I love the important work that social workers do, and I love research and practice that puts young people first, so I am thrilled to support all these things at Bryn Mawr.”