CHC’s Magdalena Serrano Named TRI Ambassador of the Year for 2021

April 26, 2022

Every year, the Trauma Resource Institute recognizes an Ambassador who has worked tirelessly to help strengthen communities through the use of the Trauma and Community Resiliency Models. Since the inception of TRI , there has been immense generosity that TRI has received from many individuals and organizations around the world. There is a wider net of people who have gone above and beyond to help spread the mission and healing models of TRI. 

TRI has named their 2021 Individual Ambassador of the Year as:

Magdalena Sunshine Serrano, LCSWDirector of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry Services at CHC

Magdalena is an Indigenous woman of Serrano, Apache, and Tarahumara descent and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in the trauma-informed treatment of Indigenous populations. She began her CRM journey in 2014 after meeting and training with Elaine Miller-Karas. This encounter was a critical turning point in Magdalena’s career and changed the way she approached both her personal life and therapy.

Joining the CHC team in 2014, it wasn’t long before her dedication and insight as an effective leader made her a shining star. In 2017 Magdalena became the Director of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry Services – now steering the way for a team of over 50 skilled support staff and counselors.

So, What Exactly Is CRM?

The Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® trains community members to not only help themselves but to help others within their wider social network. The primary focus of this skills-based, stabilization program is to re-set the natural balance of the nervous system. CRM’s goal is to help to create “trauma-informed” and “resiliency-focused” communities that share a common understanding of the impact of trauma and chronic stress on the nervous system and how resiliency can be restored or increased using this skills-based approach.


What This Means For Our Community

Through Magdalena’s advocacy, many CHC healthcare workers have been trained in the Community Resiliency Model (CRM). The resiliency skills and tools taught through CRM have been instrumental in mitigating the strain of the ongoing pandemic. CRM skills are accessible to people of all ages and all backgrounds which means that our workforce can utilize these skills not only with themselves but also share them with their patients and social circles. “As a team, we now have more than an understanding of trauma and the way it impacts our whole health. We have the tools to begin the work of healing.” – Austin Lillenberg, Associate Clinical Social Worker at CHCCC.

Education Before CHC

After receiving her Bachelor’s in Sociology and American Indian Studies from UCLA and a Master’s in Social Work from USC, Magdalena returned to the Central Coast to support her community. She has exemplified a life of service to her community and these efforts have been amplified during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Vision

Magdalena is currently a member of the “Strategies in Addressing ACEs, Toxic Stress, and Trauma-Informed Care in Indigenous Communities Workgroup” through ACEs Aware in partnership with the Aurrera Health Group. Through this, she hopes to amplify key community members trained in the CRM and support them in providing continuous service to their communities. As a partner in the Santa Barbara County ACEs Network of Care Leadership, Magdalena’s vision for equity and well-being for her community is a healthcare workforce that embodies the people she serves.

Portions of this article taken from the full announcement at TRI.

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