Now Available to Aquifer Curricular Partners & by Individual Subscription

11 Trauma-Informed Care virtual patient cases demonstrate the effects of trauma on physical and mental health and ways that clinicians can provide appropriate care to trauma survivors.

70% of adults in the US have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people.
– The National Council for Behavioral Health

What is Trauma-Informed Care?

Trauma-informed care recognizes the signs, symptoms, and risks of trauma to better support the health needs of patients who have experienced traumatic events. It is an outgrowth of abundant and definitive research findings, such as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, which demonstrate that exposure to traumatic events is highly prevalent in our society.

Recognizing this relationship among adversity, health, and well-being, Trauma-Informed Care takes the universal precaution approach, which is to assume everyone has experienced some form of trauma, which is essential, given that most patients do not disclose their history of trauma, and likely may not even be aware of the impact it has had on them.


Trauma-Informed Care provides a training tool for a broad range of healthcare providers and their staff to learn about the prevalence and impact of trauma and how to integrate the principles of trauma-informed care into clinical practice. By understanding the behavioral, neurological, and health effects of trauma and learning specific communication skills, clinicians can improve their relationships with patients, better engage patients in all aspects of their care, and potentially reduce the risk of their own professional stress and burnout. 

Coming July 1: New Module & Access

As of July 1, Trauma-Informed Care will be available for subscription as part of Aquifer’s Clinical Excellence Case Sets offering. Paired with other key interdisciplinary topics, this new package provides access to 52 short cases. As part of this upgrade, a new principles module will also be added to Aquifer Trauma-Informed Care. Learn more…

  • Available by subscription as of July 1, 2023, as part of Aquifer’s Clinical Excellence Case Sets
  • Created for educators, by educators, to cover key content in a critically important topic in health care education
  • Cases focus on the impact of trauma and how health care practitioners can provide appropriate care for diverse populations
  • Proven pedagogy that standardizes experiences—overcoming geography, seasonality, and accessibility
  • Evidence-based, peer-reviewed, and continuously updated content
  • Self-assessment questions emphasize key content and enable students to test their knowledge and skills
  • A wealth of source material, tools, and full references in each case
  • Delivered via the Aqueduct teaching and learning platform, which includes user management tools, easy reporting on student progress and course usage, plus tools for creating custom courses to match a specific curriculum

Virtual patient case scenarios address a range of core competencies and critical learning objectives, including the prevalence and health effects of trauma, the principles of trauma-informed care, the neurobiology of trauma, clinical management of persons who have experienced traumatic events, and interprofessional collaboration methods for working with trauma-affected patients. The types of patients cared for in the cases span the age spectrum and are seen primarily in the outpatient setting or in the emergency department.

The cases illustrate how trauma-informed care can improve patient-provider rapport, increase patient engagement in preventive care, and facilitate integrated, patient-centered treatment plans.

Each Trauma-Informed Care virtual patient case is estimated to take about fifteen minutes to complete. 

Coming July 1: New Module & Course Structure

All Clinical Excellence Case Sets, including Trauma-Informed Care, will follow a new course structure.

A new principles module will be added to the course, which covers key definitions, epidemiology, explanations of key principles and why they are important for patient care, and a harm statement that makes it explicit what harm can come to the patient if the principle is not incorporated into practice.

After completing the principles module, students unlock additional application cases (the existing Trauma-Informed Care cases) that explore realistic case scenarios. Application cases are concise and focus on one area of a patient encounter, and are centered around asking students to make important clinical decisions. Content models evidence-based best practices and communication strategies, exploring the real-world impacts on care and potential harm. At the end of each case, a reflection question asks the students to consider key takeaways, implications for their future practice, or personal wellness. Each application case also includes self-assessment questions that extend the learning to other scenarios.

These cases are an ideal addition in a variety of settings throughout the medical and health professions curriculum.

For pre-clerkship students, real-life examples and a safe space to practice applying concepts from a lecture or group activities will solidify their understanding prior to seeing patients.

Leveraging this content in core clinical rotations (such as pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, and women’s health) is an ideal way to prepare students for patient care, as a realistic experience to gain a deeper understanding as part of a core curriculum didactic series or a post-encounter learning experience. 

The types of patients cared for in the cases span the age spectrum and are seen primarily in the outpatient setting or in the emergency department. The cases are multi-disciplinary, thus providing an opportunity for all levels of students to understand how teams work together to care for patients. This content could be woven in during sessions focusing on interprofessional teams, as preparation for clinical rotations, or in capstone courses.

Trauma-Informed Care 01: 28-year-old pregnant woman with a history of witnessing violence
Trauma-Informed Care 02: 45-year-old woman with diabetes experiencing stress
Trauma-Informed Care 03: 33-year-old female with insomnia
Trauma-Informed Care 04: 50-year-old female with stress and non-cardiac chest pain
Trauma-Informed Care 05: 8-year-old male with asthma
Trauma-Informed Care 06: 48-year-old female coping with HIV
Trauma-Informed Care 07: 58-year-old female veteran with chronic pain
Trauma-Informed Care 08: 58-year-old male with gastrointestinal symptoms
Trauma-Informed Care 09: A rape exam in the Emergency Department
Trauma-Informed Care 10: Physician with a trauma history
Trauma-Informed Care 11: 78-year old male wellness visit

Accessing the Cases

Aquifer Curricular Partners (programs that subscribe to all five Aquifer signature courses) will have access to Aquifer Trauma-Informed Care on July 1, 2022.

Individual subscriptions will also be available on July 1, 2022, to all teachers and learners, in order to make this content available to teachers and learners as soon as possible. Note: Individual subscriptions include student access only – administrative reporting, content library, custom courses, and user management tools are not included with this access.

Aquifer plans to offer access to Trauma-Informed Care content by institutional subscription for the 2022-23 subscription year.