Posted on January 16, 2020
What if we could measure the effects of our interventions and resources on the body and minds of our clients in real-time?
I started my career just as the quality improvement and best practice movement started to influence service delivery and funding in the helping professions. While so much good evolved out of these movements, it remains difficult to measure outcomes, especially in the short-term. Often, we are left hoping our short-term efforts serve as small steps on the journey to more substantial outcomes such as permanent housing, family reunification, graduation from high-school, viral suppression or other future states that take months and sometimes years to achieve.
Learning about trauma’s impact on the brain, nervous system and overall health, I was frustrated that I never had the means, technology or funding to measure how our interventions improved brain and nervous system health and the resulting post-traumatic growth. I could sometimes measure what was happening outside the skin through behavioral change, medical labs, achievements and assessments. However, our efforts were helping some heal, their mind and body remained a mystery.
Just over a year ago, I learned about a reliable, intensively researched and simple biometric that measured the health of the brain, nervous system and all the other systems (digestion, immune, cardiovascular, respiratory) that were negatively impacted by trauma. Research also showed that this biometric effectively measures improvements or declines in social, emotional and physical health. Over two decades into my career, I finally found the quality measure I only dreamed of before and saw its power to help quantify and evolve the trauma-informed paradigm.
A few months ago, I started a journey. My goal was to find a way to help bring this revolutionary science into the helping professions as a crucial step in our work to create trauma-informed interventions, organizations and communities. Over the next several months, I will share my journey and the research that I believe will change the way we provide services forever.