Kim Kehl, Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services Trauma Informed Care Project Coordinator

Kim Kehl, Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services Trauma Informed Care Project Coordinator

Kim Kehl has had various roles with state agencies including the Ohio Departments of Education, Mental Health, Health, Job and Family Services, Transportation and the Governor’s Ohio Family and Children First Council. Kim received a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Wright State University in 1990 and a B.S. from Kent State University in Special Education and Elementary Education in 1978.
For the past three and a half years, Kim has served as Ohio’s Trauma-Informed Care Project Coordinator.  Under the general direction of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Medical Director collaborating with federal, state and local partners to support training and implementation of trauma-informed practices throughout Ohio in a cost effective and trauma-responsive manner.   He coordinates training efforts and fosters the implementation of trauma-informed practice within the OhioMHAS and Department of Developmental Disabilities {DODD] systems in both the institutional and community domains.

The Ohio Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Developmental Disabilities launched a statewide Trauma-Informed Care Initiative (TIC) in June of 2013.   The Initiative works to expand opportunities for Ohioans to receive trauma-informed interventions by enhancing efforts for practitioners, facilities and agencies to become competent in trauma informed practices.  Ohio recognizes that TIC is an approach that explicitly acknowledges the role trauma plays in people’s lives. TIC means that every part of an organization or program understands the impact of trauma on the individuals they serve and promotes cultural and organization change in responding to the consumers/clients served. 

In the spring of 2015, 170 professionals across multiple human service systems and agencies throughout Ohio participated in a train-the-trainer program on Trauma-Informed Approaches: Key Assumptions and Principles.   The training curriculum provides and introduction to trauma and trauma-informed approaches in behavioral health and other human service settings.  The training is intended for a wide range of potential audiences, including direct care service providers, supervisors and administrators, advocates, service recipients, family members and interested community members.  To date, over 8,000 persons have participated in training.

As part of the TIC Initiative, six Regional TIC Collaboratives have been formed.  The Regional Collaboratives; identify strengths, champions and areas of excellence as resources in TIC implementation identify gaps, weaknesses and barriers for implementation of TIC; develop a repository of expertise, knowledge, and shared resources which will assist in dissemination of information and support the implementation of TIC throughout state, assuring that TI opportunities are available everywhere.; train individuals to serve as local/regional/state faculty to assist in the dissemination of TIC; and, develop implementation strategies specific to specialty groups as indicated such as DD, children, older adults, AoD.

Additionally, Ohio is building upon the success of the statewide TIC initiative by expanding trauma-informed care awareness and trauma-responsive services to Ohio’s law enforcement agencies and assisting in the development of a trauma-informed approach curriculum for basic and advanced professional development training.   The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), which is a division of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, and OhioMHAS and DODD have developed a six hour curriculum entitled Trauma-Informed Policing that all sworn and commissioned law enforcement officers (30,000+) must take to meet the critical subject requirements beginning January 2017.  The course has been designed to provide an introduction to trauma and trauma-informed approaches in policing, understanding how prevalent trauma histories are among the people served and how trauma may impact law enforcement person in their jobs and in day-to-day life experiences.

Preventing trauma and correctly identifying and responding to it when it has occurred has tremendous potential to impact the physical, behavioral, social and economic health of Ohio and Ohioans.  Trauma is a major public health issue that must be addressed.  By being a member of AVA, I am able to access solid research and data driven findings for Ohio to address its major public health issue.
Kim can be reached at