GCSW’s Trauma Education Program Celebrates 13 Years - University of Houston
Skip to main content

GCSW’s Trauma Education Program Celebrates 13 Years

Celebrating its 13th year, the Trauma Education Program (TEP) continues to be a leader in trauma education with a local and national impact. 

Led by Faculty Advisor Donna Amtsberg, the TEP is dedicated to preparing diverse leaders in trauma-informed practice through education, research, and collaborations with community organizations. With a focus on social justice, the program aims to develop trauma-informed clinical social work practitioners, guiding them from initial assessment to treatment planning. 

In 2011, Clinical Professor Sandra Lopez, LCSW-S, spearheaded the Trauma Program at the GCSW, initially known as the Child Trauma Program, with a primary focus on educating students interested in working with traumatized children and adolescents. At that time, dedicating an entire program to trauma work was uncommon in social work education. The GCSW, in 2011, was among the nine social work colleges invited to partake in a national research project led by the National Institute for Trauma Education and Workforce Development (NITEWD), formalizing trauma education. 

In 2013, under Donna's guidance, the program underwent a transformative expansion, broadening its focus to encompass traumatized individuals of all ages. This pivotal shift led to the renaming of the program as the Trauma Education Program (TEP). Students now engage in coursework addressing trauma across the lifespan, providing them with extensive career opportunities post-graduation. Former Trauma Fellows have found success in various fields, including hospitals, school districts, private practice, counseling centers, and non-profit organizations. 

In 2023, the TEP received another prestigious invitation to participate in trauma education research, once again through the NITEWD.  

Donna expressed pride in the program's growth, both in student interest (currently 64 students) and its overall expansion in impact and influence and state that “it is not uncommon for GCSW students to state that they chose the GCSW for their master's program due in large part to the TEP, and many of them are willing to relocate to Houston in order to achieve their personal goals of trauma education.”    

This ongoing commitment to research underscores the program's dedication to advancing trauma education and its recognition on a national level. 

Learn more about the Trauma Educations Program here.