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Trauma Survivors Network

Emergency Department

The MUSC Health Trauma Survivors Network is a community of patients, families, health care providers, and volunteers who are looking to connect with one another and rebuild lives after a serious injury. In collaboration with the American Trauma Society, MUSC Health offers programs and resources to help patients and families manage their recovery and improve their lives.

Level 1 Trauma Center
MUSC Health is a Level 1 trauma center—the highest level of trauma care available. We are prepared 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to offer immediate care for life- and limb-threatening injuries, and provide trauma patients with instant access to the most advanced technology, surgical suites, and critical care services, which can make all the difference in saving lives and decreasing disabilities.

For additional information about MUSC's Trauma Survivors Network (TSN) program, contact the TSN Coordinator at 843-792-8401 or email traumasurvivors@musc.edu.

Peer Visitation Program

Peer visitation offers patients the opportunity to talk with a trained volunteer who has experienced the aftermath of a serious injury. These trained peer visitors answer your questions and address your concerns from the perspective of someone who has “been there.”

Since they have lived through the experience, including the hospitalization and rehabilitation, TSN peer visitors understand the concerns of trauma patients on a personal level. The TSN peer visitor can relate to the uncertainty you might have about your recovery and offer understanding and tips for getting through the day. Most important, they are there to listen.

If you are interested in the Peer Visitation Program contact the TSN Coordinator at 843-792-8401 or email traumasurvivors@musc.edu.

NextSteps Program

NextSteps is an interactive program to help you manage your life after a serious injury. It will help you explore the ways your life has changed and how you can move forward.

Before your injury, you were on your own path in life, one that you expected to continue. However, injuries can change those plans and you may find yourself dealing with uncertainty. Will you get back to your old self and the path you were on? Or are you facing changes that will lead you down a new road in life?

It can be difficult to find the answers to these questions and face the challenges that lie ahead. NextSteps will help you understand where you are on the road to recovery, help you figure out where it is you want to go, and help you develop the skills to get there.

NextSteps recognizes that you play the most important role in your recovery. It will help you take control of your situation and become more active in your recovery. It uses techniques that have been scientifically proven to increase self-confidence and feelings of empowerment.

NextSteps is not a substitute for medical care or individual counseling. It is designed to help you work with your doctors and others in your recovery.

In NextSteps, you will work through a series of lessons and have the opportunity to share your experiences and learn from others who are facing similar challenges. You can do all of this, while working at your own pace and in your own surroundings.

Telehealth Resilience & Recovery Program (TRRP)

The Trauma/Telehealth Resilience and Recovery Program (TRRP) focuses on patients’ emotional recovery after they have experienced a traumatic injury. More than 20 percent of traumatic injury patients may experience depression or anxiety in the first year post-injury. Our program provides education, screening, assessment, referrals, and mental health treatment or “behavior therapy” to support patients through the process of managing these symptoms. We are primarily telehealth based, meaning you can access the majority of our services from anywhere, with a phone, tablet, or computer.

In addition to our services for patients, we also offer consultation to hospitals and trauma centers looking to provide trauma informed mental health resources to patients.

How Does it Work?

We provide several levels of care for traumatic injury patients served through our level-I trauma center at MUSC, as follows:

  • Hospital Visit
    We meet with you during your stay in the hospital to discuss emotional health and answer your questions about emotional recovery
  • Text Messaging Check-ups
    After you leave the hospital, we send you texts checking in about stress and mood. We also send you tips and strategies to help you during your recovery
  • Recovery Assessment
    Next, we call to check in with you to see how you are doing. We provide feedback and support to help you with emotional challenges or needs you may have after being injured.
  • Counseling Services
    If you are struggling with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder or depression, we can help. Our clinic can provide services in person or through telehealth.

Our Recovery Assessment can be done at any time, even before or after the one month mark from your or your family member’s hospital stay. If you feel you or a family member are struggling with depression, anxiety, or have any mental health concerns, feel free to reach out to our program at 843-792-0979.

What Are the Benefits of the Program?

Most patients in the US never receive mental health screening or follow-up care after traumatic injury. In fact, few hospitals offer adequate mental health screening and follow up after injury and hospitalization. Patients could live with symptoms for up to ten years before receiving treatment. This program therefore improves access to care by bringing education and best-practice mental health treatment directly to patients at several stages of recovery after traumatic injury. Our goal is to accelerate mental health recovery by identifying and treating symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder early in the recovery process after injury.

Many of the patients we serve live more than 25 miles away from MUSC, and many others are not yet sufficiently mobile due to their physical injuries to attend face-to-face treatment sessions. With TRRP, patients can attend appointments from anywhere via telehealth. This telehealth treatment option allows patients to start mental health treatment regardless of where they are in their physical recovery or where they live. We can also provide referrals for patients with mental health needs that are not addressed by our services.

To learn more about emotional recovery and telemental health treatment, please visit our website at www.trrphealth.org

About Us

TRRP, funded by the Center for Telehealth at MUSC, represents a multidisciplinary partnership between MUSC’s Department of Surgery (General Surgery, Trauma, and Surgical Critical Care), Department of Pediatrics (Emergency Medicine), College of Nursing (Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles), Center for Telehealth, and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center).

Meet the TRRP Team

Photo of 	Kenneth Ruggiero

Kenneth Ruggiero, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruggiero is Professor and Director of TRRP. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and oversees the program.

Photo of Tatiana Davidson

Tatiana Davidson, Ph.D.

Dr. Davidson is Associate Professor and Co-Director of TRRP. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and oversees supervisory and clinical operations.

Photo of Leigh Ridings

Leigh Ridings, Ph.D.

Dr. Ridings is a Postdoctoral Fellow with TRRP. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and supports research and clinical initiatives.

Photo of Margaret Anton

Margaret Anton, Ph.D.

Dr. Anton is a Postdoctoral Fellow with TRRP. She is a clinical psychologist and supports research and clinical initiatives.

Photo of Jennifer Winkelmann

Jennifer Winkelmann, LPC

Ms. Winkelmann is the Program Manager of TRRP and a licensed professional counselor. She leads the program data management and supports research initiatives.

Photo of Olivia Eilers

Olivia Eilers, BS

Ms. Eilers is the Program Coordinator and Training Manager of TRRP. She coordinates patient care and trainings through the clinic. She also leads daily operations.

Photo of Meagan Mack

Meagan Mack, MA

Ms. Mack is a program coordinator with TRRP. She supports daily operations including screening, treatment, coordinating patient care, and research initiatives.

Partner Sites

TRRP is expanding to other locations in South Carolina! Find a program coordinator at our partner sites below:

Photo of Jeannie Fuller

Prisma Health, Columbia, SC (formerly Palmetto Health)

Program Coordinator:
Jeannie Fuller, BSN
803-434-6230

Photo of 	Jesse Walker

Trident Medical Center

Program Coordinator:
Jesse Walker, BS
843-996-0414

Trauma Survivors Support Groups

After leaving the hospital or rehabilitation facility, the Trauma Survivors Support Group provides an opportunity that allows trauma survivors and their families to connect with other survivors. When you have experienced a major event in your life, like being injured, it is helpful to talk with others. We can learn by talking to other survivors and sharing how we deal with the challenges of recovery.

  • Charleston Amputee Support Team (CAST)
    • This group is design to help new amputees, veteran amputees, and their families cope with the loss of a limb. There is no charge to attend and refreshments are provided. 
    • 1st Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Health South Rehab Hospital, 9181 Medcom Street, North Charleston
    • Contact: Ricky Miller: 843-670-0484
  • MUSC Trauma Center Patient and Family Snack and Chat
    • This program is for family and friends of trauma patients. This group allows for caregivers to come together to ask questions, express concerns, and learn coping strategies. Contact the TSN Coordinator for upcoming dates.
    • Contact: TSN Coordinator: 843-792-8401, traumasurvivors@musc.edu
  • Trident Head Injury Support Group (Charleston area)
    • 1st Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
    • Contact: Robert Durland: 843-882-1967
  • Trident Breeze Group (South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association)
  • Peer Support Groups are available locally.

Resources for Trauma Patients

  • MUSC Health Level One Trauma Center
  • American Trauma Society: Dedicated to the elimination of needless death and disability from injury
  • Trauma Survivors Network: A national program provided by the American Trauma Society. TSN is a community of patients, families, health care providers, and volunteers who are looking to connect with one another and rebuild their lives after serious injury.
    Contact the MUSC Health TSN Coordinator at 843-792-8401 or email us at traumasurvivors@musc.edu
  • South Carolina Bar Association - lawyer referral service, advanced directive/planning, durable power of attorney
    www.scbar.org (Public Information tab)
    Lawyer Referral Service 800-868-2284
    LATIS (May be eligible for free or low-cost legal assistance) 888-346-5592 or www.sclegal.org
  • Mental Health Crisis Support
    Charleston & Dorchester County: 843-414-2350 or 800-613-8379
    Berkeley County: 843-761-8282
    National Hotline: 800-273-8255
  • State Office for Victim’s Assistance (SOVA) - assistance programs and funding for victims of crime
    www.sova.sc.gov
    State Level: 803-734-1900
    Please ask about MUSC Victims Assistance liaison and local resources
  • National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center - outpatient trauma-focused treatment for all types of traumatic events.
    67 Presidents Street, 2nd floor of South Building (of the Institute of Psychiatry), Charleston, SC 29425
    843-792-8209
  • Domestic Violence
    My Sister’s House (local domestic violence shelter) Crisis Line: 843-744-3242
    National Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Tri-County (Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley) 24-Hour Helpline: 843-723-9633
  • 211 Hotline - for assistance with locating local resources, operated by Trident United Way. 211 Hotline is also a 24-hour suicide hotline. Dial 2-1-1
  • Veteran Services/Affairs Officers - assists Veterans and dependents with information about benefits,
    medical services, programs, and other community supports
    va.sc.gov/index.html
    State Office: 803-734-0200
    Berkeley County: 843-377-8506
    Charleston County:843-974-6360
    Dorchester County: 843-832-0050
  • Department of Social Services - General Contacts (please ask for county-specific information)
    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
  • SNAP Benefits: 800-616-1309
  • General Information: 803-898-7601
  • South Carolina Red Cross- Lowcountry Chapter
    Location: 2424-A City Hall Lane, North Charleston, SC 29406
    Phone: 843-764-2323
    Services: Disaster relief, emergency communication with military/service members, blood donation
  • Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. The Social Security Web site (www.ssa.gov) is easy to use if you apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can call 800-772-1213 or call your local Social Security office. It takes many months to process an application, so it is a good idea to get started quickly.