In a year, Baltimore, Maryland, US, librarian Donna Bruce has connected more than 400 visitors to housing programs, food assistance, and substance abuse recovery options — and saved a man from a drug overdose. She leads a team of “peer navigators” trained to provide trauma-informed engagement, who all have personal experience with mental health challenges or substance abuse disorders. After all employees completed the seven two-hour Healing City training sessions, navigators enrolled in a 46-hour Peer Recovery Specialist Certification program. Peer Navigators is the first city agency program growing from the 2020 Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, which mandates a trauma-informed approach for city employees and agencies. The act grew from City Councilmember Zeke Cohen’s discussions with students and community members after a 2019 shooting at Frederick Douglass High School. A website lists trauma-informed community resources, including programs that help incarcerated individuals navigate re-entry, provide housing assistance, and support survivors of intimate partner violence.

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