Building Resilience at Schools: Emotional and Biological Assessment and Treatment of Traumatic Stress


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Trial ID: NCT05701111


In the last four years alone, residents of Puerto Rico have experienced a slew of natural disasters including Hurricane Maria in 2017, earthquakes in 2019 and 2020, the continued COVID-19 pandemic from 2020-2022, and most recently Hurricane Fiona. This series of distressing events can lead to an increased need for mental health resources and trauma treatment. Furthermore, the unique single-district structure of the Puerto Rican education system allows for the efficient dissemination of potential interventions and treatment to all students. The purpose of this study is to examine two treatment conditions for educators and school-aged children in Puerto Rico experiencing burnout, fatigue, and high stress: delivery of a mindfulness-based educator curriculum and, for children who report Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, delivery of the mindfulness curriculum with the additional intervention of Cue-Centered Therapy (CCT). The study has two aims: 1) To assess the efficacy of the mindfulness curriculum and of CCT in a population of students, counselors, and teachers, characterized by high stress over the last few years of natural disasters and pandemic challenges and 2) To identify genetic contributions to resilience by analyzing gene expression in students before and after the intervention. The overarching goals of the investigators' research collaboration are to improve educators' psychological well-being and children's socioemotional development when faced with high stress and adversity and to improve mental health clinicians' competence and confidence in treating children exposed to trauma by training them in CCT. The investigators' research will identify critical biopsychosocial components responsible for the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional improvement and effective implementation strategies in a large but geographically dispersed school district. The knowledge base that will result from this study will inform the implementation of trauma-informed care in school settings and with populations experiencing stress and adversity, and contribute to the investigators' understanding of the underlying biology of these interventions to provide a rationale for further development and dissemination.

Official Title

Building Resilience at Schools: Emotional and Biological Assessment and Treatment of Traumatic Stress

Stanford Investigator(s)

Victor G. Carrión
Victor G. Carrión

John A. Turner Endowed Professor for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Inclusion Criteria:

1. Teachers and students at a participating school site, Adults and students/caregivers willing to participate in the study
2. For Cue Centered Therapy:

1. Youth aged 11-17 with exposure to at least one Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) 5-defined traumatic event and meeting threshold criteria for posttraumatic symptoms per the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) PTSD scale.
2. Willingness to participate in therapy
3. Caregiver willing to participate in therapy
4. Perpetrator of the traumatic event is not living in the home with the child

Exclusion Criteria:

1. For the general study and for Cue Centered Therapy:

1. Students doing current trauma-focused interventions with a mental health professional
2. Low cognitive functioning (IQ less than 70)
3. Substance dependence as defined by DSM criteria
4. Autism/Schizophrenia
5. Clinically significant medical illness


behavioral: Start with the Heart Students

behavioral: Start with the Heart Teachers

behavioral: Cue Centered Therapy Counselors

behavioral: Cue Centered Therapy Students

genetic: iSWAB-DNA


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Contact Information

Stanford University
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Emily Wu