Over 40 Years of Service to the Mental Health Community

MaMHCA: Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association

Conference Workshop #4:


Workshop_4_collageLeveraging Community Engagement to Adapt Evidence-Based Trauma Treatments:

by Melissa Anderson and Amanda Costa

This workshop will provide an overview of formal and informal approaches to incorporating the voice of individuals with lived mental health experience in the development and adaptation of trauma interventions (e.g., participatory action research, community-based participatory research). Specific examples of such community-engaged adaptation will be presented to illustrate these concepts, including the recent development a Deaf-accessible form of Seeking Safety, an evidence-based treatment for comorbid trauma and addiction.  

About the Presenters:

Melissa L. Anderson is a psychologist and clinical researcher in the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC), Department of Psychiatry, UMass Medical School. She completed her graduate work at Gallaudet University, where she studied intimate partner violence and trauma in the Deaf community. At UMass, Melissa provides individual therapy to Deaf clients recovering from trauma and addiction and conducts community-engaged research on best approaches for working with Deaf clients. She collaboratively leads SPARC's Participatory Action Research Initiative with co-presenter Amanda Costa.

Amanda Costa is a Project Director at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research located at UMass Medical School Department of Psychiatry, Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC). Amanda provides support on multiple research studies focused on improving the education and employment goals of young adults with lived experience. Amanda travels nationally to help inform audiences about the importance of meaningful youth voice and partnership with young adults in research, and oversees the Transitions ACR National Youth Advisory Board, where she supports young adults across the nation in developing leadership skills and using their voices to change the mental health system.