American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Tanya Zakrison: How Trauma-Informed Care Can Clarify Nonmedical Effects of COVID-19

Addressing COVID-19 might seem a world apart from healing the injuries and violence that necessitate trauma surgery, but there are lessons to be learned from the modern concept of trauma-informed care in relation to the pandemic. In a video message, Tanya Zakrison, MD, MPH, FACS, acute care and trauma surgeon and Associate Professor, University of Chicago Medicine, IL, discusses how trauma-informed care helps surgeons to be mindful of the societal and economic factors that precede trauma and can lead to future injuries. These factors also can determine the long-term impact on those individuals affected by COVID-19—patients and health care workers alike.

Dr. Zakrison discusses three key points through the environmental and situational prism of trauma-informed care: health care worker wellness, the societal issues of equity and inclusion, and the structural violence and discrimination that affect patients. Understanding health care worker moral distress in treating critically ill and dying patients, the rising bias against Asian-Americans and iniquities in access to COVID-19 testing, and the clear inequality in how COVID-19 is affecting poor minority communities compared with whites offers a baseline to build appropriate governmental and community response, according to Dr. Zakrison. Watch her video message.