Psychiatrist is Innovator in Trauma Treatment, Education

As soon as she began her psychiatry residency at the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in the late 1980s, Paula Panzer, M.D., knew she was interested in better understanding trauma and its effects on the patients she was seeing.

“I began to hear stories of patients’ lived experiences and their treatment at the hands of people who should have been protecting them,” such as parents and guardians, she told Psychiatric News. The urge to discover the facts surrounding the disproportionate exposure of women to trauma drove most of her work from that time forward.

With much to be discovered about trauma, Panzer was uniquely positioned to forge collaborations with private and government funding agencies, communities, coalitions, and even the survivors to learn and teach others about trauma-informed care and trauma-specific services.

Today, these partnerships remain an essential part of her role as chief clinical and medical officer of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services), a social-services agency serving 35,000 New Yorkers in New York City and suburban Westchester County. “My career in trauma has informed the way I think and operate in my current role,” said Panzer.

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