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Class Descriptions

Trauma Basics


Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None

Pathway Associations

Community Change
Interpersonal PracticeElective
Mgmt & Leadership
Policy & Political
Program Evaluation
Older Adults
Children & FamiliesElective (Host)

Course Description

This course is currently taught as SW 540, which is a workshop-based inter-professional education course offered by UM School of Social Work in partnership with the School of Nursing and School of Education. It is the first course in a 3-course sequence in Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP). SW 541 and SW 542 are also included as electives in the WCF pathway. Completion of all 3 courses fulfills the requirement of a trauma certificate. This first course will provide basic, foundational knowledge about the cognitive, social-emotional, behavioral, and health-related outcomes of trauma in children. A key focus of the course will be on enhancing awareness of trauma in children; assessing and responding to the needs of children who encounter trauma; and changing systems to become more responsive to vulnerable children and their families. Exploration of factors known to promote resilience and well-being will be emphasized and examined throughout the course. The course will examine principles of interprofessional education, which focuses on helping students in the professions of social work, nursing, and education work collaboratively in generalist and specialty practice roles.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:
Articulate knowledge of content in a number of core areas, including:
● Definition(s) of trauma
● Epidemiology of trauma and populations at high(er) risk for adverse and traumatic experiences
● Types of trauma
● Causes of trauma
● Signs and symptoms of trauma in children and families
● Long-term, developmental impacts of trauma (neurobiological, psychological, social, physical)
● Resilience and methods of positive coping
● Protective and mitigating factors to enhance social support, learning, health and well-being across the lifespan
Apply the guiding principles of trauma-informed programs and practices used in schools and other systems that serve vulnerable children, youth, and families, with a focus on perceiving and assessing trauma.
Describe how interprofessional and team-based approaches are optimal to effectively engage in trauma-informed practice.
Draw upon the roles and functions of their own and other professionals from different fields of practice in team-based approaches to address trauma.
Identify key strategies for interprofessional collaborations that include goals for successful communication, coordination, and distribution of roles, functions, and tasks.


This course uses a series of online pre-learning readings, group discussions, and writing reflections to prepare students for an all-day workshop that includes short didactic presentations, small group discussions, and exercises that deepen knowledge about trauma and inter-professionals roles. Students will contribute their own knowledge and domain expertise throughout the course.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

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