Human-Centered Design

Co-Creating Well-Being: Supporting Children and Families Through Trauma

What is possible when children and families have support to improve their well-being and address the potential biological, developmental and emotional results of trauma and toxic stress? The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York through the Co-Creating Well-Being initiative will partner with community, health and human service, early childhood and clinical providers and faith-communities to identify and deliver program and systems that nurture resilience and healing. The aim is to reduce the potential biological and developmental impact of trauma and toxic stress through the incorporation of an innovative approach called human-centered design.

What is Human-Centered Design?

Human-Centered Design is an approach to problem solving that puts the knowledge and needs of people experiencing a problem at the core. It provides a toolkit for deeply understanding people’s needs and experiences, generating ideas to meet those needs, and then implementing innovative, tailored and practical solutions.

Through our work and research around the needs of children and families experiencing the impact of trauma and toxic stress, we learned that developing and investing in programs and interventions that reach and appropriately meet the needs of this group must be continually evaluated, developed and expanded upon.

This initiative is designed to spur creativity and innovation by supporting organizations who serve children and families in designing, testing and implementing new or re-imagined approaches to reducing the impact of trauma and toxic stress.

Why talk about trauma?

When we talk about trauma, we recognize that for many people, it can be a difficult, uncertain and sensitive topic. It shows up every day in more places than we realize— it is not just a mental health sector issue; trauma exists in places like juvenile detention and addiction support systems, pregnancy and maternity care and even in schools and universities.

Research shows that nearly half of the population in the United States will experience a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one, a serious injury, witnessing a violent crime, domestic/intimate partner violence, abuse or neglect at some point in their lives. When these experiences take place early in life the implications can be life-long and generational. But it does not have to be.

Our team and partners at the Foundation realize that the effects of trauma can be a part of everyday life. To offset its impact on children and families, we need to support trauma-informed services and systems in our communities that promote healing and well-being.

Building Capacity: Phase 1

This multi-year initiative will be executed in three discrete phases that stand alone and will also build upon one another. This approach will follow a less traditional path; in the first phase we ask interested parties to first submit an application to attend two workshops


Letter From The President
One Page program overview
Women, children and trauma white paper

Program Partners

Collaborative Partners

Funded Partners