Teaching During a Pandemic: A Model for Trauma-Informed Education and Administration

Gary W. Harper*, Leah C. Neubauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) realities have demanded that educators move swiftly to adopt new ways of teaching, advising, and mentoring. We suggest the centering of a trauma-informed approach to education and academic administration during the COVID-19 pandemic using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) guidance on trauma-informed approaches to care. In our model for trauma-informed education and administration (M-TIEA), SAMHSA’s four key organizational assumptions are foundational, including a realization about trauma and its wide-ranging effects; a recognition of the basic signs and symptoms of trauma; a response that involves fully integrating knowledge into programs, policies, and practices; and an active process for resisting retraumatization. Since educators during the pandemic must follow new restrictions regarding how they teach, we have expanded the practice of teaching in M-TIEA to include both academic administrators’ decision making about teaching, and educators’ planning and implementation of teaching. In M-TIEA, SAMHSA’s six guiding principles for a trauma-informed approach are infused into these two interrelated teaching processes, and include the following: safety; trustworthiness and transparency; peer support; collaboration and mutuality; empowerment, voice, and choice; and cultural, historical, and gender issues. M-TIEA’s organizational assumptions, processes, and principles are situated within an outer context that acknowledges the potential influences of four types of intersectional traumas and stressors that may occur at multiple socioecological levels: pandemic-related trauma and stressors; other forms of individual, group, community, or mass trauma and stressors; historical trauma; and current general life stressors. This acknowledges that all trauma-informed work is dynamic and may be influenced by contextual factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalPedagogy in Health Promotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • COVID-19
  • model
  • trauma
  • trauma-informed teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching During a Pandemic: A Model for Trauma-Informed Education and Administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this