B2: Brain Science Applied to Staff: Using Parallel Processes to Support Team Members

Area of Focus: Brain Science

An organization’s ability to provide quality care and services is completely dependent on its ability to care for, equip, and retain its team members. The Buckeye Ranch serves families across a broad continuum of care with multiple, diverse service lines. Since the early 2000s, they’ve established organization-wide standards for serving families through the implementation of their principles of quality care, which are: Strength based, family centered, trauma informed, and culturally responsive. Their understanding of trauma’s impact on the brain has informed the care model and given them a scientific lens through which to implement the principles in their work. As increased turnover and a growing workforce crisis threatened their capacity to provide quality care, they turned attention to the application of these principles as well as the corresponding neuroscience to their team members.

The Buckeye Ranch’s 2020 strategic plan included investments in a deliberate approach toward operationalizing and applying these principles in working with their employees. This effort involved an expansion of their understanding of social-neuroscience to inform the creation of work environments that are not only trauma informed, but also strength based, family centered, and culturally responsive. They have taken a multi-pronged approach to this work, which includes: Restructuring the organization to make professional development a priority, intensive focus on supervisor and manager development, strategic investments in understanding and utilizing team member strengths, and deep dives into organizational self-reflection as well as resource allocation toward culturally respectful responses with their staff. In this presentation, they will offer a brief overview of the brain science informing this work and key strategic initiatives designed to increase employee well-being.

Learning Objectives

  • Basic neurobiology of the stress response and neuro-reward systems
  • How social-neuroscience informs the management of stress and reward in the workforce
  • Organizational strategies to care for, equip, and retain staff


Pamela Scott
Director of Professional and Clinical Development
The Buckeye Ranch

Kimberly Miller
Executive Vice President of Innovative Strategies
The Buckeye Ranch

Kristina Knight
Trauma-Informed Care Administrator
The Buckeye Ranch

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