Addressing Trauma and Building Resilience in Children and Families: Standardized Patient Cases for Pediatric Residents

M. Cooper Lloyd, Jessica Ratner, Jaime La Charite, Robin Ortiz, Sean Tackett, Leonard Feldman, Barry S. Solomon, Nicole Shilkofski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma are common and can negatively impact children's health. Standardized patient (SP) learning may provide trainees with knowledge and skills to screen for and manage ACEs, apply trauma-informed care approaches, and teach resilience strategies. Methods: With content experts, we developed three SP cases based on common clinical encounters, as well as didactic and debriefing materials. Case 1 focused on somatic symptoms in an adolescent with ACEs, case 2 focused on an ACE disclosure by a parent, and case 3 focused on de-escalation. The workshop required facilitators, SPs, simulation exam room and meeting space, and audiovisual equipment. It lasted 4 hours and included an orientation (1 hour), the three SP cases (totaling 2 hours), and group debriefing (1 hour). Results: We conducted five identical workshops with 22 pediatric residents. Participants responded favorably to case fidelity and applicability to their clinical work. Resident mean self-assessment scores improved significantly from baseline. Specifically, we assessed comfort with inquiring about and discussing ACEs, explaining the health impacts of trauma, identifying protective factors, resilience counseling, and de-escalation. Over 90% of responses indicated that residents were likely to apply what they had learned to their clinical practice. Discussion: These findings demonstrate that our SP cases were well received and suggest that such curricula can help pediatric residents feel more prepared to address trauma and promote resilience. Future work will assess these outcomes, as well as behavior change, in a larger sample to further substantiate these promising findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11193
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Communication Skills
  • De-escalation
  • Pediatrics
  • Resilience
  • Simulation
  • Standardized Patient
  • Trauma-Informed Care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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