Duquesne University Hosts National Forum to Help Communities Torn by Violence

Duquesne University will host social service agencies from across the country at the first Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD) Institute, an educational forum about mitigating the effects of community trauma so that neighborhoods can heal and grow.

The week-long institute, which begins June 10, is focused on helping communities that have been fragmented by traumatic events to come together and become healthy enough to sustain opportunity and realize their potential. Representatives from seven agencies from across the country, including the Virginia Department of Health, will attend the forum.

Developed by Duquesne counselor Dr. Matthew Walsh and FOCUS Pittsburgh Director the Rev. Paul Abernathy, the TICD model has garnered national and international interest from community and academic partners. The model works to develop a dialogue among residents, educate the community on protective and risk factors, and create solutions to violence in their neighborhoods.

"Trauma is still often stigmatized, understated, or not holistically addressed in relation to community development," said Walsh, assistant director/community engagement coordinator for the University's Counseling Services. "The TICD model is informed by residents who have lived through trauma, both as individuals and collectively, and works to promote resilient, healthy communities that can grow and reach their full potential."

TICD was developed from Walsh's dissertation, which focused on trauma's effects on a community. Working with a variety of neighborhood groups in Pittsburgh's Hill District during the last five years, Walsh's research found that communities were influenced by the layering of traumas, which led to negative perceptions and fragmented families and communities.

"What we found is that the effects of poverty, racism and violence, among other factors, create trauma layers," he said. "And that trauma is historical and transgenerational; it's passed down to each generation. TICD is designed to help communities break through that history and those layers."

The TICD Institute will provide training and help form a network of trauma-informed community development professionals who can implement TICD methods in their communities. Some of the forum's topics include resilience building, identification of protective and risk factors in a trauma-affected community, micro-community intervention and creation of a trauma response team.

Community organizations involved in the institute include: Peace4Crawford, Crawford County, Pa.; Kansas City Cohort, Kansas City, Mo.; SCAN of Richmond, Va.; GROUNDWORK INDY and Raise & Restore, both of Indianapolis, Ind.; ONE Northside, Pittsburgh; and the Virginia Department of Health.

The TICD Institute is an initiative of the Catholicism and the Common Good project and funded in part by the Henry Luce Foundation and hosted by Duquesne's Center for Catholic Faith and Culture. The University of Pittsburgh and the Buhl Foundation also contributed to the event. The TICD model began from the 2013 Rice on the Road Lecture Series, which was co-sponsored by the CCFC and Duquesne's Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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