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Healing Organizations through Trauma Informed Systems (TIS)




Trauma is a pervasive, long-lasting, public health issue that affects our public health workforce and system. Like people, organizations are susceptible to trauma in ways that contribute to fragmentation, numbing, reactivity and depersonalization. When our systems are traumatized, it prevents us from responding effectively to each other and the people we serve.


The TIS Initiative at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is an organizational change model to support organizations in creating contexts that nurture and sustain trauma-informed practices. Through TIS, we aim to improve organizational functioning, increase resilience, improve workforce experience, and ultimately support organizations in responding to and reducing the impact of trauma.


We believe that this transformation—from systems that induce trauma to systems that can sustain healing practices and wellness—occurs along a continuum from Trauma Organized to Healing Organizations.


Project Components



Trauma 101
Trauma Informed Systems 101—Transforming Stress and Trauma: Fostering Wellness and Resilience is our foundational 3.5 hour training for all staff members. The content explores the application of our six principles of trauma-informed systems. The work of system change begins with sharing foundational knowledge of the impact of trauma on the people we serve, ourselves, our colleagues, our system and our community.  Creating a shared language within our system is critical to responding to this impact. The training’s Learning Objectives are:


  • Understand effects of chronic stress and trauma on our lives, our brains and our bodies
  • Learn how race and culture intersect with trauma to impact individual, organizational and community health
  • Understand and apply principles of trauma-informed systems
  • Learn strategies to develop individual & organizational resilience in order to create and maintain more healthy, trauma-informed responses in workplace relationships


Implementation Science
TIS utilizes the principles of implementation science to ensure that knowledge acquisition actually leads to change in organizational practices and policy. The conceptual framework for the TIS model includes the six components in the below diagram, which are described in more detail in the pages that follow. When organizations commit to participating in TIS, they commit to:

  • Adopting the six principles of trauma-informed systems and being willing to have vulnerable conversations about how these principles exist in the work place (see appendix on page 7)
  • Leading from a trauma-informed lens
  • Embedding TIS trainers within their organizations as content experts
  • Supporting an internal team of TIS catalysts and champions who plan, implement and support activities that promote organizational healing
  • Enhancing organizational programs, practices and policies to reflect the six principles of trauma-informed systems
  • Collaborating and aligning efforts within and across systems and sectors
  • Evaluating efforts continuously



In San Francisco
For more information about TIS in San Francisco, please contact our coordinators:

For TIS implementation within the San Francisco Department of Public Health, contact Lisa Reyes at LISA.REYES@SFDPH.ORG

For TIS Implementation in other City Departments or Community-Based Organizations, contact Stacey Blankenbaker at STACEY.BLANKENBAKER@SFDPH.ORG


Trauma Transformed (T2)
Trauma Transformed is an initiative involving seven bay area counties who are working together to understand, respond to and heal trauma. Participating counties include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. Collectively, T2 is fostering the development of a trauma informed regional infrastructure to implement, sustain, and improve services for children and youth affected by trauma. In service of this goal, one of the priorities of T2 is to disseminate SFDPH’s Trauma Informed Systems organizational change model across the counties. For more information, go to