Ginger Meyer, MSW, LCSW, CCTP is the Clinical Director for Children’s Medical and Mental Health Resource Network (CMMHRN), a program of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. She is a graduate of SIU, with a Master of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Meyer is the program coordinator, lead trainer and oversees the development of the program curriculum for the Trauma Based Behavioral Health Fellowship at SIU School of Social Work Graduate program. She is a Nationally Certified, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (one of 20 in Illinois). Ms. Meyer has been a leader in the community to develop the Children’s Medical and Mental Health Network and is the chair of the Children’s Mental Health Network Advisory board.
The initiatives set forth by the board included: increasing the professional development, training and certification opportunities for master’s level clinical professionals who work with traumatized children; increasing the number of trauma sensitive care organizations actively providing services to children, youth and families; and to increase education and awareness of trauma informed practices among University students, staff and faculty.
According to the Illinois Statewide Database, service gaps for clients needing mental health services in the 23 southern counties of Illinois, specifically evidence based trauma interventions, were non-existent and the researchers coined the rural counties served as a “service desert”.
The advisory board, under the direction of Ms. Meyer, worked right away to create a learning collaborative using a Trauma Informed System of Care model that brought together over 40 agencies and 125 participants. This learning collaborative was multi-tiered and sought to train multi-disciplinary teams of people within four categories- 1. Administration/Senior Leader- To train the administration as to why trauma informed practices are important and how to implement TF-CBT into their agency. 2. Supervisor- To train the supervisors regarding using the TF-CBT model and how to supervise with fidelity. 3. Clinicians- To train clinicians on the TF-CBT model, using an approved national trainer, so that the clinicians would be eligible for regional and national certification and would conduct TF-CBT cases under the supervision of that national trainer for one year, completing at least one case under the supervision. 4. Brokers of Service- To train agency staff on how to effectively make a referral to the clinicians. This training assisted the agency advocates, case workers, child welfare workers, police officers, state’s attorney’s offices to be able to: identify clients who would qualify and meet the criteria for TF-CBT services; educate the family on what the intervention could do for them; and provide the support to the families to help keep them in services. This learning collaborative helped 19 teams of 40 different agencies to learn about trauma informed practices and how evidence based interventions, such as TF-CBT could be beneficial to case outcomes.
Ms. Meyer was able to obtain the support of the private sector by presenting the opportunity as an investment in the underfunded and resource poor area. She looked to a private foundation, The Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, to fund and support the learning collaborative. As a result, the board resoundingly approved the $100,000 finacial contribution to fund the training.
The results of the project were amazing and earned national recognition from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with the Excellence in communications and Outreach (ECCO) award. Gold awards were presented to the group in two categories: communication and outreach to a professional audience and partnership development strategy.
In collaboration with Dhrubodhi Mukherjee, Ph.D., MSW, from SIU School of Social Work, Ms. Meyer, assisted in writing the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, which funded the million dollar, three year project known as the Trauma Based Behavioral Health Fellowship. This community based training provides graduate level social work students with an interest in clinical social work, advanced level training and practical learning with a focus on trauma. Training modules are designed to enhance the student’s understanding of the clinical aspects of trauma-based interventions. Built on a graduated framework for learning, these courses are taught by a multidisciplinary team with more than 100 combined years of clinical experience. The team is composed of a medical doctor, clinical psychologist, medical social worker, licensed clinical social workers and addictions specialists. Students gain hands-on experience and mentorship across a multifaceted platform by working with professionals who represent many disciplinary practices. There is also an emphasis on building a strong rapport with the greater Southern Illinois area by using resources from community-based behavioral health organizations. Upon completion of the program, 77 Trauma Based Behavioral Health Fellows will graduate with a certificate from the program.
Ms. Meyer also currently works at a community mental health agency where she provides trauma therapy services to children, youth and adolescents. She has worked with children and child welfare issues for over 17 years. Ms. Meyer has conducted over 2,000 psychosocial evaluations for CMMHRN for children needing medical evaluations for reported child maltreatment and also is a trained forensic interviewer in multiple protocols. Her most recent project is a three year pilot project “Building a Trauma Informed Child Welfare Workforce” This is a six session training series over the course of six months, specifically for workforce development in the child welfare sector.
Ms. Meyer is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and member of the International Association of Trauma Professionals. She is also a member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the Academy on Violence and Abuse.
The AVA has provided resources for Ms. Meyer to be able use with the multiple trainings she has given on Trauma and Child Maltreatment. The ACES study videos are helpful in a number of settings. Ms. Meyer is excited to be able to partner with the AVA to start a Regional Academy in the near future. The guidance of the board of directors and staff at the AVA has been instrumental in assisting our region with the next steps to becoming trauma informed.
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