In children, trauma - a deeply distressing or disturbing experience - can profoundly affect the developing brain and body, leading to lifelong physical, developmental and mental health problems. Among US children, 68% experience at least one traumatic event. In 2013, only 4% of pediatricians who responded to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Periodic Survey were familiar with childhood trauma. Yet, pediatricians are likely to be the first, and often only, professionals who encounter the 68% of American children who have experienced trauma.

In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with other organizations, implemented a national educational program titled, Pediatric Approach to Trauma, Treatment and Resilience (PATTeR).

PATTeR was a collaborative project between the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Massachusetts Medical School Department of Pediatrics, with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). PATTeR’s primary goal was to educate pediatricians and pediatric health care professionals about childhood trauma to improve identification, care, management and outcomes of millions of traumatized children, via multiple AAP venues.

PATTeR was formed to prepare pediatricians to identify and manage traumatized patients and families and connect them to evidence-based interventions and/or provide support for families. Education was provided through the AAP Trauma and Resilience ECHO - taped recordings of these ECHO sessions are available. Videos demonstrating the PATTeR approach, with an emphasis on communication and verbal skills for physicians, are also provided.

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American Academy of Pediatrics