Sophia Hwang

Former Emerging Leader Fellow

Sophia Hwang worked with the Health Federation of Philadelphia's Multiplying Connections initiative to ensure that human services professionals receive training on the effects of trauma in children.

Advances in neuroscience, such as brain imaging, have helped health providers and child welfare advocates better understand the harmful impact of abuse, neglect and exposure to violence on children.  Although the impact of this trauma is clear, there remains a substantial gap between what is known and what the public children’s service systems in Philadelphia are doing about it.  Multiplying Connections, under the auspices of the Health Federation of Philadelphia, is attempting to close the gap between knowledge and action by training children’s services providers about trauma and its impact on child development.  Multiplying Connectionshas developed a set of competencies—essential knowledge, values, attitudes and skills—that the workforce must have in order to deliver ‘trauma-informed’ services. 

Sophia joined this effort by assessing the extent to which current courses available to children’s services professionals in Philadelphia include the trauma-informed competencies developed by Multiplying Connections.  Sophia mapped existing curricula in child welfare and children’s behavioral health to these core competencies.  She analyzed results of the mapping process and developed written recommendations for how organizations can enhance their work to support trauma informed practice.

Sophia has strong interest in helping children.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 2008 with a concentration in Mental and Public Health of Underserved Communities.  She taught full time in the Philadelphia School District through the Teach for America program while studying for her Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, earned in May 2010. 

After completing her Stoneleigh Fellowship in June 2011, Sophia accepted a research associate position at PolicyLab, a research institute at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia directed by Stoneleigh Fellow David Rubin.  Sophia will be working to enhance collaboration among various agencies and making policy recommendations to improve mental and behavioral health outcomes for foster care youth.