PCTI: Person-Centered Trauma-Informed care on Aging Insights TV

PCTI: Person-Centered Trauma-Informed care on Aging Insights TV


TRENTON, NJ (Oct. 27, 2021) – Studies have shown that 90% of older adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma “…occurs as a result of violence, abuse, neglect, loss, disaster, war and other emotionally harmful experiences.”


How can a healthcare provider best approach treatment of an older person with a history of trauma, to avoid triggering that patient? How can a patient who may fear the stigma associated with their trauma history, or not see the impact trauma has on their health, relay their history without being retraumatized?


Person-Centered Trauma-Informed (PCTI) care is explored on Episode 121 of Aging Insights TV produced by NJ Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW) in conjunction with Piscataway Community TV.


Celebrating its 10th year, Aging Insights is a half-hour monthly TV program that addresses issues that impact the lives of NJ’s older adults, their families and caregivers. Hosted by NJAAW’s Executive Director, Cathy Rowe, DrPH, the show can be viewed on NJAAW’s YouTube channel, website and more than 70 public-access TV stations across NJ (check local listings for channels and times).


In 2015, the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging awarded a grant to the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to create and distribute innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) care for Holocaust survivors. PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision developed by the JFNA Center on Aging and Trauma.


The approach infuses knowledge about trauma into agency programs and procedures as a way to promote the well-being and empowerment of trauma survivors. PCTI acknowledges that trauma survivors have distinct and extraordinary needs and that the delivery of health care services they receive must include an understanding of these needs to avoid retraumatization.


Embedded in this approach are SAMHSA’s six key principles to trauma-informed care: safety; trustworthiness and transparency; peer support, collaboration and mutuality; empowerment; voice and choice, and cultural, historical and gender sensitivity.


The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ received grant funding from the JFNA, which originally supported programs in PCTI solely for Holocaust survivors. With additional grant funding, the Federation is now expanding its outreach to others caring for adults with a history of trauma.


Joining Dr. Rowe to discuss how PCTI is being implemented are Deborah Rokhsar Rosen, Community Planning Coordinator at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ; Howard Drew, DMD, Professor, Director of Implantology, and the Vice Chairman of the Department of Periodontics at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, New Jersey Dental School, Newark, NJ; Liz Levy, LCSW Clinician and Coordinator of Holocaust Services at Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ; and Peter Jacob, LSW, MSW, Coordinator of Project CEASSE (Combating Elder Abuse through Supportive Services and Education), Jewish Family Service of Central NJ.


Deborah Rokhsar Rosen administers grants designed to provide PCTI care for Holocaust survivors and other older adults with a history of trauma. Prior to working for the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, she led the budget office at Columbia University following more than a decade in hospital administration and finance. Rokhsar Rosen earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Brandeis University.


Dr. Howard Drew, who launched his private practice in 1984, earned his DMD and postdoctoral certificate in periodontics from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, NJ Dental School, where he has been a faculty member since his graduation in 1982. Drew serves on the Implant Steering and Continuing Education committees at RSDM NJDS, and leads the Postgraduate Mentoring Program. Over the course of his career, this Past-President of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society has been recognized with an RSDM Alumni Association Decade Award and the American Academy of Periodontology Educator Award. He also was inducted into the Stuart D. Cook Master Educators’ Guild and the American College of Dentists. Drew, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, was instrumental in partnering with the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest and provided additional funding to establish a PCTI training program at RSDM. Holocaust survivors receive dental services free there.


Liz Levy has more than 15 years of experience working with adults, older adults and Holocaust survivors at JFSMW. For the past two years, Levy has spearheaded the integration of PCTI care at JFSMW to further support Holocaust survivors and their families through the aging process with dignity and independence. She earned her Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University.


Peter Jacob earned his Master of Social Work degree, studying mental health and social-economic development, at Washington University in St. Louis. He coordinates Project CEASSE at JFS Central in Elizabeth, which serves residents throughout Union County.


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NJ Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW, njaaw.org), formerly NJ Foundation for Aging, has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the aging experience since 1998. It is the only statewide nonprofit focused solely on providing leadership in public policy and education to enable older adults to live with independence and dignity in their communities. NJAAW’s social action issues include senior housing and hunger, elder economic security, older workers and transportation. The award-winning Aging Insights, a monthly topical TV program produced by NJAAW, connects caregivers, older adults and their families to community-based services and resources. The show is available on NJAAW’s YouTube channel, website and more than 70 public-access stations across NJ (check local listings for channels and times). NJAAW also presents educational forums and an Annual Conference offering development opportunities and best practices for professionals entrusted with caring for aging adults.

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