School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Help Make America Trauma Informed

Making America a Trauma-Informed nation is a worthy goal, one needed now more than ever. CTIPP – Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice is leading the charge and I applaud their efforts. This guest blog, written by CTIPP Board of Directors member, Jesse Kohler, provides a compelling explanation of how targeted policy and advocacy can promote trauma-informed legislation.

Nursing is political, we have a license to touch people. Using the strength of our sheer numbers, professional status, and powerful voice (when we use it), can help make America Trauma-Informed. Certainly, COVID19 has traumatized our nation in ways we do not yet fully understand. Supporting CTIPP, organizing around trauma-informed legislation, and sharing in efforts to engage our legislators about this important initiative will create sustainable change. Thank you Jesse for sharing the work of CTIPP.

The National Trauma Campaign (Campaign), an initiative of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP), is a grassroots effort to educate and engage congressional offices and other federal leaders in supporting policies, programs, legislation, and appropriations that prevent and address childhood trauma and build resilience. This Campaign relies on individuals, organizations and coalitions taking collective, coordinated action. We envision that the early phases of this Campaign will serve as the foundation for additional, future Campaign efforts, building on the substantial and growing amount of activity to prevent and address childhood trauma and build resilience that is occurring in communities and states throughout the country.

Last year, Congress increased funding for national programs and efforts to prevent and address trauma, including $8 million for community-level programs to address children exposed to violence and $15 million to prevent and treat child abuse and strengthen local systems to ensure foster care is a system of last resort. In April 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that health care costs alone caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the United States exceed $700 billion a year. Congress funds almost 30% of all health care services in this country, which means, according to a meta-analysis published in September 2019, the effects of ACEs impact the federal budget by over $200 billion a year in health care costs alone. The Campaign seeks to work with Congress to build on recent bipartisan accomplishments and continue to strengthen the federal response to trauma.

The ultimate goal of the Campaign is to pass comprehensive trauma-informed federal legislation, the vision for which is also being worked on by the Campaign. In the first four months, the Campaign had more than 450 individuals and organizations sign up from across 48 states. We continue to work toward having at least one representative in all 435 legislative districts across the country, but our network has already mobilized to advocate for a trauma-informed response to the COVID-19 pandemic, introduce joining the House Trauma-Informed Care Caucus to Congresspeople, and will continue to work to grow our network. Despite this impressive start, there is still a huge need for more advocates.

You can join the National Trauma Campaign as an individual or as an organization at, the third section of the website is called Constituent Engagement and has a number of roles for you to sign up for. As a local liaison or organization, you will be developing relationships with your Congresspeople and their staff, communicating calls to action that come from the National Trauma Campaign Core Team, helping to grow the Campaign, and relaying your experiences back to the Core Team to continue to inform our direction as we move forward. It costs nothing to join the Campaign – though CTIPP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that accepts 100% tax-deductible donations – because the Campaign knows that we will get farther with human capital than with financial capital.

Please consider joining the National Trauma Campaign today and help us spread the word to other advocates interested in the trauma-informed and resilience-building movement!

Bio: Jesse Kohler was raised in the Greater Philadelphia area. After graduating from Oberlin College in 2016, he moved back home and got a fellowship with a nonprofit organization, 12+, where he worked at an inner-city public high school to promote a college-going culture, as well as coaching baseball and basketball. His time in the school illuminated how education reform could drastically improve other social service systems as well, and toward the end of his fellowship, he was accepted into a Masters in Educational Leadership executive cohort. During his Masters, Jesse got an internship in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the Office of Public Engagement, predominantly working to develop the Pennsylvania Trauma-Informed Network. Jesse ultimately wrote his thesis on the promises of a trauma-informed education system.
Following graduation, Jesse got a job as the Director of Development at North Light Community Center in Philadelphia, a human services agency that has childcare, educational and enrichment programs, workforce development, and emergency services available without cost ever being a barrier to entry. In addition to all of the fundraising responsibilities, Jesse was able to establish new programs for the communities North Light served, including the Lowering Overdose and Violence Epidemics (LOVE) initiative, which embeds trauma-informed care and resilience-focused programs into all that North Light does. During his time at North Light, Jesse received certification as a trauma-competent professional from Lakeside Global Institute and was elected to CTIPP’s board, and ultimately became the fundraising chair. 
Jesse currently serves as a co-chair for the National Trauma Campaign and is an Advocacy Associate for Council for a Strong America. His goal is to continue to promote meaningful systems-level change that benefits all Americans, particularly children and youth, as well as marginalized communities, to develop a more equitable society and world where all people have the opportunity to thrive.

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