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A group of Trauma-informed Care (TIC) experts have drafted a set of TIC competencies for medical students. Competencies are knowledge, attitudes and skills that students should master before graduating and becoming doctors. We are looking for members of the ACEs community who have lived experience with trauma to help validate and provide feedback on the proposed competencies. Participants will be selected from the list of candidates to represent a diversity of perspectives and lived experiences in trauma-related professional fields.


  • Complete 3 online surveys, each of which has approximately 60 questions. Each survey will take 60-90 minutes to complete.
  • Complete surveys by the deadlines. You will have 2 weeks to complete each survey.
  • You will be asked to evaluate each competency in several domains using a 5-point scale. You will also have the option to provide written feedback.


  • There are no direct benefits or monetary benefits to participation.
  • Be part of advancing trauma-informed care and ACEs-informed approaches within medical education


  • The content of the competencies references trauma, and may be distressing to some participants, especially those with lived experiences of trauma
  • The content of the competencies contains no descriptions of trauma and all participants will be provided with a resource guide should they encounter any distress

To apply:

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I think this is great and hopeful, in part, and appreciate that those impacted by trauma are being asked to be reviewers and to provide feedback. However, unless the time, energy, and effort is compensated, it's not equitable and it doesn't actually honor and value lived expertise.

Most who do the work of creating content do so as part of careers or educational pursuits getting credit if not cash. But for many, (though not all) with lived expertise - that's not always available and therefore problematic as it means that people who can't spare the time because of work or parenting, disability, poverty, or healing, (i.e. most impacted) will be least likely to provide input.

I was on a team of international advocates yesterday and one suggested that survivors say no to all work that is either unpaid or where survivor input isn't requested and embedded from the start when shaping a plan. While I've never been as hard line as that, because it's still so rare that our experiences and opinions are even asked for or listened to, and we're still trying to make inroads to being heard/included. However, I do think we need to acknowledge, question, and challenge the unpaid labor routinely being requested for after things are already done feedback.

All that said - I do realize that many initiatives (and this may be one) are entirely volunteer and all participants are doing unpaid labor and work in order to make improvements and social change so I don't mean to single out this effort but just this issue. I hope this is something our entire movement addresses. Some places offer gift or grocery cards if not payment and I think it's important to do something.



It's great to see an interest in trauma informed care training for medical trainees.  From my perspective the manner in which feedback is being asked from individuals with lived experience does not appear to be trauma informed. 

Where is the link provided in this post taking potential participants, and what information is being gathered?

Will participants receive the results of the study?

Will the researchers or the institution using the information be named?

How is the personal information of participants being used and stored?

Is it possible to provide more specific information?

It might be helpful to create or attach a poster or something that can be verified to help interested individuals make an informed decision.

Most call for participants at universities have all this information in the poster with contact information for any questions.

Respectfully, I feel this is a big ask from a vulnerable population. (At least in the manner in which it is presented in the post).

Best of luck with your research.

Maria and Cissy,

Thank you for sharing thoughtful reflections regarding our research methods. Your comments have sparked a great discussion within our team about how we can ensure our process is more trauma-informed. I hope this post will clarify our intent, while attending to the impact of our approach thus far.

The ultimate goal of the project is to determine the skills that all medical students should master to become trauma-informed doctors. The intent behind our ACEs Connection recruitment is to include voices in this process other than medical educators.

The point about compensation is so critical and something our team has discussed. We have applied for several sources of funding, but to date our team has been unsuccessful in securing any funding for any of our projects. We continue to apply for funding so that we can offer compensation in future projects. Our group is entirely volunteer and recieves no monetary compensation, but we acknowledge that we would receive academic credit for publishing any results.

The project is being conducted with four medical schools: University of Oklahoma, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of California- Davis, and Harvard. Each school sought its own IRB approval.

This link directs participants to an application. We are seeking 24 community members to participate and created the application in case there were more interested participants than we had slots available. The limited demographic information collected in the survey is representative of the demographic data and identifying information participants would be asked to share while participating. Interested participants can view the entire survey without any information being recorded. More details about the project and the researcher contact information can be found on the application.

The results and final competencies will be shared with participants. If participants would like to be identified in the final publication of results, they will be named as an "expert with lived experience".

Questions about the study protocols, how information is stored, and how results will be distributed will be included on the study information sheet. We have attached that here to provide more information.

Researcher contact information: Taylor Brown,

Again, we thank you for your reflections and the opportunity to open a dialogue about trauma-informed research practices.


Dear Taylor:
Deeply grateful for your detailed explanation and response and appreciate giving participants the option to be named and included, should they wish, even if financial compensation isn't yet possible. Again, this is a wider issue of if, how, when, and where we do or do not honor, acknowledge, and compensate what I call lived expertise, direct expertise, or first-person and first-hand accounts. Thanks for your consideration and further detail! Warmly,

Taylor, thank you for taking the time to explain the details and attaching the study information sheet.  Very helpful.

Funding is always such a challenge in research. Money and tangible gifts seem to be the most effective way of obtaining participants for important research studies like this one.

I wonder if it would be possible to ask the volunteer participants from this study, what other types of compensation they would appreciate (if money is not available)?

I am happy to see so many great universities are involved in this. Congratulations on getting them on board!

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