Moving from Trauma-Informed to Trauma-Responsive Care

A presentation and panel discussion focusing on the next steps to building a trauma-responsive community.



Joshua Mersky is co-director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being and professor at UWM’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. Dr. Mersky’s research interests include adverse and traumatic experiences that undermine health and well-being. He is dedicated to working with local and state partners to translate evidence into real-world solutions that improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families.


James “Dimitri” Topitzes, Ph.D., LCSW is an associate professor of social work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Topitzes has designed, implemented, and tested programs aimed at preventing or treating early psychological trauma. Along with his 15 years of applied research experience, Dr. Topitzes is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in trauma-informed care and trauma-focused treatments. He created and directed the Trauma-Informed Care Graduate Certificate at UW-Milwaukee and developed a number of program courses. In addition, he recently helped co-found the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being, a partnership between UW-Milwaukee and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and currently serves as the Institute’s clinical director. Dr. Topitzes is a Level I Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) trainer, and served as the clinical director for Project Connect, a PCIT implementation project funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Tim Grove, MSSW, is the chief clinical officer at SaintA, a human services agency whose mission it is to facilitate equity, learning, healing and wellness for all. He has more than 20 years of professional experience in a variety of direct care and administrative positions including in-home services, foster care, treatment foster care, residential treatment, child welfare, community based services, quality improvement and staff development.

Grove is the senior leader of trauma informed care (TIC) initiatives across all agency programs and as such was responsible for implementing SaintA’s TIC philosophy and practices, including Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). He created a TIC training curriculum centered around the Seven Essential Ingredients, or 7ei, of understanding and practicing TIC. Grove and the training team at SaintA have used the 7ei framework to train more than 50,000 people from diverse disciplines over the past 10 years.

He is a Mentor with the Child Trauma Academy and a master trainer in Dr. Rob Anda and Laura Porter’s ACE Interface curriculum. Grove and the SaintA team’s work has been highlighted and published in a number of magazines, journals and newspapers. He was the lead project manager of a three-year research study on the effectiveness of 7ei in child welfare outcomes which demonstrated positive effect on creating placement stability and permanency for kids.

Grove is recognized nationally as a trauma informed care expert and was recently interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for a 60 Minutes segment on trauma and resilience.

Terri deRoon-Cassini, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma & Critical Care at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She graduated with her Ph.D. from Marquette University in Clinical Psychology and completed her postdoctoral clinical and research training at the Medical College of Wisconsin, in a Trauma & Health Psychology Fellowship. Currently she sees inpatients and outpatients with distress after trauma. Dr. deRoon-Cassini is co-director of the research core of the Comprehensive Injury Center at MCW, director of research for the Trauma Program, and co-director of the Milwaukee Trauma Outcomes Project. Her research agenda includes neurobiopsychosocial phenotypes of psychopathology and resilience following trauma and understanding how socio-environmental stress, such as exposure to community violence, impacts ones biology and overall health.

Reggie Moore serves as the Injury and Violence Prevention Director of the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) located within the City of Milwaukee’s Health Department. Appointed in 2016, Reggie leads the city’s efforts to assess, prevent, and decrease incidents of structural and community violence. OVP’s mission is to prevent and reduce violence through partnerships that strengthen youth, families, and neighborhoods. On November 11, 2017, the Office of Violence Prevention released Milwaukee’s first comprehensive plan to address violence from a public health perspective. Prior to joining the city, Reggie has led local and national organizations including the Center for Youth Engagement, Urban Underground, and the national Youth Activism programs for the Truth Initiative in Washington, DC. He has volunteered his time with several local and national organizations including the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, the Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing, and Scaling Wellness In Milwaukee. An organizer at his core, Reggie has dedicated his life to being a servant leader and catalyst for social change.