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25 Years of Learning

CCFH Staff Reflect on What, Why, and How They’ve Learned

This month marks 25 years since the Center for Child & Family Health opened its doors to children and families seeking support after trauma. As we interviewed colleagues about this milestone and gathered their reflections and memories, several common themes emerged.

One of them was the culture of learning that has grown at CCFH over the past 25 years — learning from the research on child traumatic stress and evidence-based treatment; learning from one another’s experiences and perspectives; and, most importantly, learning from the creativity, courage, and resilience of the children and families we serve.

“We became a place that shared with the community as we were learning. Our didactics series was huge! People would come from everywhere to sit in and learn and be a part of it. It wasn’t like now where we can just Zoom people in! People would travel quite a distance just to come.”

– Dr. Ernestine Briggs-King, on the didactic lecture series that started
in CCFH’s first home on Westgate Drive and continues today

“We had so many people working at CCFH at the time who were interns, post-docs, or new trainees. It really is a place of learning where you have new people coming on board and you’re teaching them about how trauma works into the field of general psychology or social work.”

– Dr. Karen Appleyard Carmody, on how CCFH was orienting new staff
to work in childhood trauma in the mid-2000s

“I appreciate CCFH’s commitment to continued education, and always seeking new opportunities for learning and filling in gaps in knowledge to support families as much as possible. I’m grateful for all of the chances to learn and expand my skills.”

– Jessica Burch, LCSW

“I always remember if I had a clinical question or some kind of client-family conundrum, I always had a door to knock on; I always had somebody to ask. Everybody was really generous with me and supportive as I learned.”

– Donna Newberne, MA, LCMHCS,
on her first impressions upon joining the CCFH staff in 2005

“I have learned so much from being here, for example about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and more about the impacts of trauma. I’ve been able to share and receive knowledge.”

– Ginelle Hines, LCMHC

“We don’t learn much in nursing school about how trauma affects people, so that aspect of our work here is so important for enabling us to best serve our Durham families.”

– Paula Wright, RN, BSN, IBCLC, on having Family Connects Durham,
a universal postpartum home visiting program, embedded at CCFH

“I think it evolved from both hearing peoples’ stories over and over, and all the opportunities for learning at the Center — the didactics, the articles people would give me, consulting Lisa Amaya-Jackson and Karen O’Donnell. … And humility is a key word; always being open to learning — not being the expert — but always being open to learning from the families.”

– Jan Williams, LCSW, on her understanding of the role of childhood trauma

“All of us work too hard to not find our work rewarding. To me, one of the things that’s most rewarding is I get to learn from [our work]. So, that first time in DC was just amazing.”

– Dr. Robert Murphy, on observing CCFH’s first learning collaborative teaching
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to clinicians in Washington DC in 2005

Posted on November 3, 2021