Trauma-Informed Leadership in Quality Improvement: What We Learned From Practicing in a Pandemic.

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In 2020, midway through the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity project, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic erupted and caused significant disruptions for the 10 participating state teams, the project leadership, and collaborative partner organizations. Clinics shut down for in-person care, a scramble ensued to quickly leverage telehealth to fill the gap, and the trauma caused by anxiety, isolation, and exhaustion affected the health and wellbeing of children, families, and clinicians alike. We conducted a series of key informant interviews and surveys, alongside other process measures, to learn from state teams what it was like "on the ground" to try to continue improving care delivery, child quality of life, and family wellbeing under such upheaval. In this article, we synthesize qualitative and descriptive findings from these varied data sources within the framework of the trauma-informed principles we applied as a leadership team to prevent burnout, increase resilience, and maintain progress among all project participants, especially clinicians and the uniquely vulnerable family leaders. Lessons learned will be offered that can be applied to future natural and human-made emergencies that impact responsive pediatric care delivery improvement.

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