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Record ID: 993c59e6-ed49-4a99-adf6-1f7b417ed67e
Type: Journal Article
Title: Key features of a trauma-informed public health emergency approach: A rapid review
Authors: Kennedy, Michelle
Chamberlain, Catherine
Chennall, Richard
Woods, Cindy
Mohamed, Janine
Atkinson, Caroline
Bennetts, Shannon K
Graham, Simon
Heris, Christina L.
Keywords: complex trauma
ANRA Topic: Children and young people
ANRA Population: Children and young people population
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities
Categories: ANROWS Completed Register of Active Research projects
Year: 2022
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Citation: Volume 10
Abstract:  COVID-19 is a major threat to public safety, and emergency public health measures to protect lives (e.g., lockdown, social distancing) have caused widespread disruption. While these measures are necessary to prevent catastrophic trauma and grief, many people are experiencing heightened stress and fear. Public health measures, risks of COVID-19 and stress responses compound existing inequities in our community. First Nations communities are particularly at risk due to historical trauma, ongoing socio-economic deprivation, and lack of trust in government authorities as a result of colonization. The objective of this study was to review evidence for trauma-informed public health emergency responses to inform development of a culturally-responsive trauma-informed public health emergency framework for First Nations communities. We searched relevant databases from 1/1/2000 to 13/11/2020 inclusive, which identified 40 primary studies (and eight associated references) for inclusion in this review. Extracted data were subjected to framework and thematic synthesis. No studies reported evaluations of a trauma-informed public health emergency response. However, included studies highlighted key elements of a “trauma-informed lens,” which may help to consider implications, reduce risks and foster a sense of security, wellbeing, self- and collective-efficacy, hope and resilience for First Nations communities during COVID-19. We identified key elements for minimizing the impact of compounding trauma on First Nations communities, including: a commitment to equity and human rights, cultural responsiveness, good communication, and positive leadership. The six principles guiding trauma-informed culturally-responsive public health emergency frameworks included: (i) safety, (ii) empowerment, (iii) holistic support, (iv) connectedness and collaboration, (v) compassion and caring, and (vi) trust and transparency in multi-level responses, well-functioning social systems, and provision of basic services. These findings will be discussed with First Nations public health experts, together with data on the experiences of First Nations families and communities during COVID-19, to develop a trauma-integrated public health emergency response framework or “lens” to minimize compounding trauma for First Nations communities.

The research has concluded and the output has been added to the ANROWS library. Please visit for more information on the RAR.

Project title

Healing the past by nurturing the future: Learning how to identify and support Indigenous parents who have experienced complex childhood trauma


Complex childhood trauma causes profound and long-lasting effects on physical, social and emotional wellbeing, which can be triggered during the transition to parenthood and impede the capacity of parents to nurture their children. This transition offers a unique opportunity for healing and preventing intergenerational transmission of trauma. This project co-designs and evaluates acceptability and feasibility of screening and support for Indigenous parents experiencing complex trauma.

Funding body

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (GNT1141593)

Funding budget


Project start date

June 2018

Expected completion date

December 2022

ISSN: 2296-2565
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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