Peer-to-Peer Trauma-Informed Training for Surgical Residents Facilitated by Psychiatry Residents

Heather Buxton, Mollie C. Marr, Alexandra Hernandez, Jovo Vijanderan, Karen Brasel, Mackenzie Cook, Alisha Moreland-Capuia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: This article describes the implementation of trauma-informed care (TIC) didactic training, using a novel, interdisciplinary peer-to-peer teaching model to improve confidence surrounding trauma-informed practices in a surgical residency program. Methods: Eight psychiatry residents and two medical students with a background in psychological trauma and TIC and an interest in medical education were recruited to participate in three 2-hour “train the trainer” sessions led by a national expert in TIC. Eight psychiatry residents and two medical students subsequently developed and delivered the initial TIC training to 29 surgical interns. Training included the neurobiology of psychological trauma, principles of trauma-informed care, and developing trauma-informed curricula. Results: Surgical interns reported significantly improved understanding of the physiology of trauma, knowledge of TIC approaches, and confidence and comfort with TIC and practices. Among surgical interns, understanding of the physiology of the fear response increased from 3.36 to 3.85 (p = 0.03). Knowledge of the neurobiology of trauma improved between pre- and post-training surveys (2.71 to 3.64, p = 0.006). Surgery interns also expressed an improved understanding of the connection between fear, trauma, and aggression (3.08 to 4.23, p = 0.002) from pre- to post-training surveys. Post-training knowledge of trauma-informed approaches increased from 2.57 to 4.71 (p < 0.001) and confidence in delivering TIC on the wards increased from 2.79 to 4.64 (p < 0.001). Conclusion: This TIC curriculum delivered via a peer-to-peer training model presents an effective way to improve comfort and confidence surrounding TIC practices and approaches in a surgical residency training program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-62
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Curriculum development
  • PTSD
  • Peer-to-peer resident teaching
  • Trauma-informed care (TIC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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