Sue Green, the longest-serving member of Cazenovia Recovery Systems’ Board of Directors, has provided consistent and valuable contributions since 2002, including past service as Board President.
As clinical associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, co-director of its Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, and a trauma therapist, Sue’s leadership and insights guided Cazenovia Recovery’s recent successful implementation of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) throughout our organization.
Sue has been involved in the Institute since its start in 2012. Its premise is based in part on federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) data showing that addressing an individual’s trauma is an important part of achieving positive behavioral health. SAMHSA points out that not addressing trauma “significantly increases the risk of mental and substance use disorders and chronic physical diseases.”
“TIC puts us in a position of believing that adversity and trauma exist … and creates the opportunity to be more deliberate and intentional in our interactions,” Sue explained.
At UB, master’s and doctoral candidates in social work often train with the Institute. Innovative thinking from students and from expert advisors has resulted in successful programs. For instance, “Seeking Safety,” a model developed by Lisa Najavits, was implemented by the students and used by Cazenovia Recovery. It incorporates TIC practices into substance use treatment through evidence-based coping mechanisms.
Staff orientation for TIC now begins as early as the hiring process. Physical and emotional safety is emphasized and residents are encouraged to participate in program choices and daily living decisions.
Mutual trust between Sue Green and Executive Director Sue Bissonette forged a strong partnership in this endeavor, which was funded by the Tower Foundation from 2015-17. Our agency was the first to have a dedicated trauma-focused person on staff to conduct training. It also resulted in the agency embracing TIC throughout our operations and UB receiving detailed program evaluations of our model for research and educational purposes. Both Sue Green and Sue Bissonette continue to work collaboratively to create the culture, policies, routines, and communication that make TIC a strong and sustainable priority.