Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Dr. Regina Idoate

Second Committee Member

Dr. Brandon Grimm

Third Committee Member

Dr. Analisa McMillan


Background: Psychological trauma has been recognized as a public health concern of epidemic proportions globally. Public health community awareness of and education in trauma is likely to be integral to preparing future public health professionals to work effectively and safely in the field. Currently, the extent of trauma awareness, training, and treatment on the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health (UNMC COPH) campus is not known.

Aims: The aims of this project are to investigate and assess the level of psychological trauma awareness, training, and treatment on the UNMC COPH campus; and to provide recommendations for actions that will support the development of trauma awareness, education, and healing on campus.

Methods: The Community Readiness Model (CRM) was used to guide the research. Nine participants from myriad sectors and across multiple levels of the college and university hierarchy were interviewed. Transcripts were scored according to the CRM and coded for thematic patterns.

Results: The UNMC COPH total Community Readiness score was found to be at stage 3 of 9: Vague Awareness. Community members were found to have a spectrum of knowledge about psychological trauma and generally considered it to be a problem. However, there was little awareness of what should be done to address it and few resources available. Higher readiness scores were found in the domain of Community Climate, lower scores were in the realms of availability of community resources and knowledge of resources for mental health. Themes regarding psychological safety, shame, the neoliberal milieu, conflation of diversity/inclusion work with trauma work, and paradigm shifts were revealed and are explored in the discussion.

Conclusions: The COPH could do much more to promote trauma awareness, integrate trauma education into the curriculum and campus life, and provide for evidence-based trauma treatment on campus. To do so will likely require a paradigmatic shift and the careful management of many changes in multiple parts of the community simultaneously or in concert.