Director’s Corner

Dr. Charles "Chip" Benight sitting on stairs


by Dr. Chip Benight, Executive Director of the Lyda Hill Institute for Huma Resilience


As I reflect on this Director’s Corner, I am filled with pride for my team at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience. This time of year, we finalize our annual report, capturing our accomplishments over the past year. This marks our fourth year since launching the Institute at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. These four years have been amazing and incredibly busy.

From the beginning, it was clear that our focus on human resilience was crucial, given the challenges posed by the pandemic, social justice issues, environmental crises, and increasing mass violence. The need for our work has only grown. While the pandemic has receded in our daily lives, the original issues persist, and new ones have emerged.

The Institute continues to expand its community resilience programming, such as our First Priority Peer Support Program for UC Health Memorial Southern Region, along with a myriad of trainings and workshops with community partners. We have responded swiftly to support those affected by violence in our city and, more recently, on our own campus.

We have introduced a completely new model of care, utilizing an inter-professional team that collaborates to help survivors find their inner strength and compass for moving forward in their lives, rather than reducing them to a set of symptoms to be treated. Our researchers have published significant scientific papers on critical issues, from dynamic coping with mass disasters to new theoretical approaches for understanding trauma adaptation, impulsive violence, and suicide.

We have received grants from the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Science Foundation, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, totaling $1.7 million. These funds are helping us investigate the impact of climate change on health, develop new interventions for transgender teens and their families, and test a new theory on human adaptation from trauma with physical trauma survivors.

The Institute was established with three critical components that we believe will make the largest impact on our world: Knowledge, Community, and Caring. I am proud to say we are making a difference. If you would like to learn more about the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience and see some of the significant accomplishments that have been made toward advancing trauma and resilience science, please read our 2023 Annual Report here


Tags: Newsletter May 2024