Professor awarded $530,000 grant for Long Beach Trauma Center project

Cal State Long Beach professor Bita Ghafoori has had a large hand in helping build the second mental health trauma recovery center in the state, which opened its doors April 18.

As the project’s director, Ghafoori has been in charge of overseeing the development of the Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center, which was funded through a $530,000 grant from the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.

Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center was also awarded $40,000 by the California Endowment awarded $40,000 to establish the center, according to a St. Mary Medical Center press release.

The center, located at St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Community Clinic for Counseling and Educational Services on campus, opened its doors on April 18. In addition to being operated by CSULB, the center is also staffed by licensed psychologists and students in the Mater of Science in Psychology program at CSULB.

“It is a new model of clinical and cost-effective care for victims of interpersonal violence,” said Ghafoori, an education and counseling professor. “[The center combines] outreach, case management, assistance with law enforcement and trauma-informed therapy to deal with the emotional wounds inflicted by interpersonal violence.”

The project was a product of Ghafoori’s involvement with the City of Long Beach Violence Prevention Plan Steering Committee, which consists of professionals and leaders in Long Beach who are committed to reducing violence in the community, she said.

Among the members of the committee are Ghafoori, Long Beach Police Department Chief of Police Jim McDonnell and U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.

Ghafoori said the center was formed to meet the high demand for mental health care in Long Beach.

“Very few community-based agencies in Southern California provide no cost research-based services for victims of violence and trauma,” Ghafoori said. “The violence present in Long Beach … calls for a comprehensive program to address the needs of current victims, increase the awareness of the effects of violence in the community and end the continuing cycle of violence.”

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