Tools for Treating Trauma

“I felt very disabled. I didn’t feel competent enough to help my patients that have issues with mental health and psychiatric challenges.”

When Family Nurse Practitioner Ameneh Moghaddam comes up against an obstacle, she seeks the tools she needs and moves forward.  At Axis Community Health, for example, she found that she was giving her all, but coming up short in treating her patients’ underlying trauma.

She sought resources through Alameda Health Consortium’s UC Davis Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship.  The 12-month fellowship involves two teleconference webinars per month, two in-person conferences, and one-on-one mentorship with faculty. The goals are to increase PCP comfort level for behavioral health patient care management, practice the collaborative care model, and coach other PCPs and team members on psychiatric treatment.

Moghaddam has already found solutions for her patients through the Fellows program. “Because I speak Farsi and Dari, I see a lot of Afghan refugees. I see a lot of victims of the Taliban war, patients with amputated limbs. They are suffering from phantom pain, for example, if they’ve had an amputation. At the same time, they suffer from severe underlying mental health challenges. There are medications that address both, and I didn’t know that before I was in this program.” She is seeing progress in three of her patients that she is treating for night terrors related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“So far we’ve learned about different kinds of anxiety disorders, PTSD, different depressive disorders. I’m looking forward to learning more about psychotic disorders and use of anti-psychotics, and to learning more about ADHD and bi-polar disorder.”

For Moghaddam, lifelong learning and giving back are part of what it means to be a community health provider. “Twelve years ago, I came here as an immigrant with nothing, and if it weren’t for the help of the community, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I feel like I’m giving back to the community. And, every time I’m able to provide a patient with resources, I feel very fulfilled.”

Learn more about the program here.