The Center for Youth Wellness: A Community-Based Approach to Holistic Health Care in San Francisco

  • Suzanne E. WalkerEmail author
  • Victor G. Carrion


Chronic stress and trauma have significant implications for the development and health of children and youth in the United States. Resulting from exposure to violence, societal forces such as poverty, experiencing structural racism, and historical trauma, among others, this complex issue requires a multifaceted approach. This narrative chronicles the convening of multiple academic and community stakeholders in San Francisco to create a trauma-informed system of care by collocating three organizations to address the adversity that children and youth living in poverty face daily. The resulting model offers pediatric services, short- and long-term mental health programming, policy and health education, and high-quality referrals to other local service providers for needs such as housing or legal assistance. Additionally, the organization conducts research and evaluation to inform both its own practice and state and national policy around toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences. The partnership-building process, lessons learned, and future recommendations for practitioners are discussed.


Adverse childhood experiences Toxic stress Chronic stress Trauma Trauma-informed system of care Community-based mental health Collocated services Holistic care Dyadic care Pediatric medicine Partnership Biopsychosocial Community partners Community-based participatory research 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s HospitalStanfordUSA

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