Dissemination of a stepped care intervention to address emotional recovery among traumatic injury patients in the Carolinas

Sponsor/Type: The Duke Endowment
Project Period: 01/01/2021 – 12/31/2023


Annually, 140,000 Carolinians are hospitalized after traumatic injury (e.g., gunshot wounds, stabbings, serious car or motorcycle crashes, pedestrians struck by automobiles). More than 20% (~30,000 each year) develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression, both major risk factors for poor quality of life, social and occupational impairment, and prolonged physical recovery. Moreover, only 28% of patients who develop PTSD or depression after traumatic injury return to work within one year vs. 61% of those who develop neither disorder.

It is therefore critical that sustainable models of mental health care are embedded within trauma centers to ensure that patients receive the full range of services that they need. The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma now explicitly identifies this as a top national priority. Unfortunately, however, only ~10% of the >525 US trauma centers have taken initial steps to address mental health recovery, and almost all of them are doing it differently and have very basic programs that lack strong evidence.

No program has been widely adopted, and there are no clear roadmaps. South Carolina has emerged as an exception and national leader as a result of our launch of the Trauma Resilience and Recovery Program (TRRP) at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2015, followed by our Duke Endowment grant awarded in 2017 that allowed us to implement TRRP in three additional Level I-II trauma centers: Prisma Health – Upstate, Prisma Health – Midlands, and Trident.

Collectively, these programs already have reached more than 10,000 patients. If awarded, this grant will triple the number of trauma centers in the Carolinas with mental health programs to 12 by supporting our efforts to implement TRRP at: Carolinas Medical Center, Spartanburg Regional, UNC Medical Center, Duke University Hospital, Vidant Medical Center, Grand Strand Medical Center, WakeMed Health, and Wake Forest Baptist Health.

For more information contact
Tatiana M. Davidson