Using Trauma Informed Care to Address Opioid Use Among Homeless Individuals

Isabel Odean (MPH, Care for the Homeless), Luis Fernandez (CASAC, Care for the Homeless), and Andrea Littleton (MD, Care for the Homeless)

Care For the Homeless is a community health care provider with 20 Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout NYC, providing integrated primary care, behavioral health, and dental services exclusively to the homeless and unstably housed population. This workshop focuses on how Care For the Homeless utilizes a Trauma Informed Care approach to our Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) program, which currently serves over 200 patients, and addresses how we use an integrated approach to providing MAT to a vulnerable and often difficult to engage population. In this workshop we will discuss our street outreach program, in which we offer street induction of buprenorphine, and the importance of trauma informed care in making this program successful. We will also review the six main principles: safety; trustworthiness and transparency; peer support; collaboration and mutuality; empowerment, voice, and choice; and cultural, historical, and gender issues. Students will have the chance to consider both why trauma informed care is critical when engaging with vulnerable populations on substance use disorder, as well as what are some of the challenges and limitations of a trauma informed care approach. Students will participate in an interactive learning activity in which they work through how to apply the principles of trauma informed care to engage homeless patients into opioid use disorder treatment.