Understanding Trauma in the Context of Marginalized Communities


This presentation will contextualize the discussion of trauma focusing on the experiences of populations that experience health inequities. Health disparity and inequity are briefly defined and linked to issues of structural inequity, historical trauma and social determinants of health. The presentation will discuss how inequity, historical trauma, poverty and other negative social determinants increase exposure to risk factors that increase the likelihood of traumatic stress. The presentation concludes with recommendations for service delivery and treatment that are sensitive to the unique experiences of marginalized communities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to provide definitions and examples of health inequity, marginalized communities and historical trauma.
  • Participants will be able to state the relevance of historical trauma and the poverty, stress and community violence disproportionately observed in marginalized communities for traumatic stress.
  • Participants will be able to provide three ways that they can modify their treatment or practice to be responsive to the needs of marginalized communities.

Slides in PDF format




Professor Sanders Thompson is a leading researcher in the areas of racial identity, psychosocial implications of race and ethnicity in health communications, access to health services, and determinates of health and mental health disparities.  She has built a unique record of research that combines a sophisticated social science understanding of racial identity, rigorous measurement, and community-based participatory research.  She joined the Brown School in 2008 and currently serves as a member of the Faculty Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University.

A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Sanders Thompson is active in numerous professional associations including the American Psychological Association, Missouri Psychological Association, and the Midwest Sociological Society; as well as an associate editor for the journal, Contemporary Psychology.

Share: Pinterest