The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education Staffer Leaders Provide Workshop at National Conference

Two staff leaders at The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education led a workshop during the Andrus Sanctuary Institute’s annual Network Days Conference in Armonk, New York.

Shannon Osborne, project manager at The Wright Center for Community Health, and Ann Hart, director of the graduate and undergraduate medical education experience at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, presented, “Brave Spaces: Going Slow to Go Fast,” during the April 17-19 conference at the IBM Learning Center.

They joined presenters from around the country, promoting practices that aligned with this year’s conference theme: “Repairing Culture, Reimagining Trauma-Informed Care.” The event attracted hundreds of national and international attendees.

The Sanctuary Institute, of Yonkers, New York, offers training and consultation services to more than 275 organizations worldwide using its evidence-supported Sanctuary Model. Among its Pennsylvania clients are The Wright Center and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. The Sanctuary Model, which originated in the Philadelphia area in the 1980s through the pioneering work of Dr. Sandra Bloom and her colleagues, offers trauma-informed approaches to clinical and organizational development.

The model calls for acknowledging the impact of trauma on individuals, organizations, and systems and delivering services in a manner that does not re-traumatize individuals and treats the underlying trauma that prevents progress. Its guiding principles stem from four pillars, one of which consists of seven commitments: democracy, non-violence, social responsibility, open communication, social learning, growth and change, and emotional intelligence.

Organizations that successfully implement the Sanctuary Model can attain certification from the Sanctuary Institute, a process that can take three to five years. The Wright Center embarked on its journey to certification in August 2022 and would become the first certified organization in Northeast Pennsylvania, and one of just a few in the state.

“We’re committed to this model for the betterment of our workforce and the communities we serve,” said Osborne, a dual-certified mental health first aid instructor and integrative community therapy facilitator and trainer.

With more than half of The Wright Centers’ 650-plus employees working directly with patients, prioritizing patients’ needs over Sanctuary Model training remained imperative, Hart said. Taking a deliberate, slower pace to achieve certification ensures thorough training for all staff members without sacrificing patient care. This approach also allowed for the organic emergence of The Wright Center’s Whole-Person Wellness initiative, which includes Sanctuary, Mental Health First Aid, a thorough review of health benefits, environmental, social, and governance programming, and other actions that align with the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.

In their workshop, Osborne and Hart, who holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, shared insights into The Wright Center’s ongoing efforts to obtain Sanctuary Model certification.

Osborne emphasized the importance of patience, strategic pacing, and remembering that the model is a framework — all of which were highlighted during their presentation.

“By proceeding slowly and deliberately, leaders emerge, trust is cultivated, and engagement with staff deepens,” Osborne said.”It’s not a light switch or overnight process. You have to do what’s best for your organization, and that takes time.”