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Governor signs exective order declaring Hawai‘i a trauma-informed state

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Gov. Josh Green signed an executive order declaring Hawai‘i a trauma-informed state.

The declaration is meant to help mitigate the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma and build resilience in families, communities and state workforce.

The order directs all state departments to collaborate with the Office of Wellness and Resilience to integrate trauma-informed care principles, such as safety, transparency and peer support, into workplaces and services.

“This executive order and survey are just our first actions to become a trauma-informed state,” said Green. “With the results, we will develop better services and programs that support the wellness and resilience of our people, including addressing community traumas we’ve lived through in the past several years, like the pandemic and Maui fires.”

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As the first step to becoming a trauma-informed state, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers, in partnership with the Office of Wellness and Resilience, are conducting a series of surveys on health and quality of life.

One survey, for all community members, aims to assess the well-being and quality of life in adults living in Hawaiʻi. All residents are invited to complete the 15- to 20-minute questionnaire on their thoughts and experiences regarding topics including their neighborhoods, health, housing and disaster preparedness.

The other survey focuses on worker well-being in state government, while assessing similar topics. This survey will be disseminated through employees’ respective state departments.

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Both surveys will be open until the end of March. Click here to see surveys.

“Findings from these efforts will help all of us better serve our state,” said Jack Barile, principal investigator and Department of Psychology professor in the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences. “Using the survey data, our research team will create public reports and dashboards to make the state a better place to work, and better inform legislation, funding and community-specific programming.”

The project is funded by and conducted in partnership with the Office of Wellness and Resilience, housed in the Office of the Governor.

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“The commitment Hawai‘i is making today to becoming a trauma-informed state is a celebration of the trauma-informed, healing-centered work many state departments and community organizations have been doing for the last 10 to 15 years with positive outcomes,” said Tia L. R. Hartsock, director of the Office of Wellness and Resilience. “Rooted in trauma-informed principles, the surveys will reflect workforce and community voices, allowing us to better understand and collaboratively create a more resilient state.”

Both research survey studies have been approved by the UH Institutional Review Board, and are part of a larger partnership between the Health Policy Initiative housed in CSS and the Office of Wellness and Resilience.

The mission of the Office of Wellness and Resilience is to strengthen our state systems and services, using healing-centered care principles as strategies to make Hawai‘i a trauma-informed state. We break down barriers that impact the physical, social and emotional well-being of Hawai‘i’s people – from keiki to kūpuna.

To learn more, visit governor.hawaii.gov.

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