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Shana Cerny, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, TBRI® Educator
South Dakota

Associate Professor

University of South Dakota

School of Health Sciences |Occupational Therapy

"In 2013, I was a new faculty member at The University of South Dakota. I attended the Early Childhood Mental Health Symposium in Pierre, SD in July of that year. This conference was the impetus to integration of trauma informed care into the occupational therapy curriculum. It also provided me with the motivation to pursue service and research efforts in the arena of childhood trauma and its effect on child and family well-being.

One of the quotes I wrote down from this conference (I kept all my notes/handouts and STILL reference them) is “Take judgement out of the equation; go back to the beginning and see the child in a new lens”.  As my understanding of trauma has increased, my use of a biopsychosocial framework for intervention has as well. This intervention concept was repeatedly emphasized by Dr. Gerard Costa. Specifically, the necessary and complimentary attributes of considering the whole child.

Since my time at this conference in 2013, my research and clinic work have focused on trauma-informed care. I completed Trust-Based Relational Intervention® through Texas Christian University and have been trained by Dr. Robert Anda to provide ACEs and Resiliency training to communities throughout the state. Alongside colleagues, we created the Child & Adult Advocacy Studies certificate and training programs to prepare service providers and teachers in South Dakota to use trauma-informed, multidisciplinary approaches. We are currently developing a Child and Family Resiliency Clinic. I honestly would not have pursued this line of service and scholarship had it not been for the conference and hearing Dr. Costa speak. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your passion for helping children and families heal."

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