Simpson College launches new online certificate program in trauma and resiliency

Program offers specialized training to those working with at-risk individuals
INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson College announced today that it will offer a new online graduate certificate program in trauma and resiliency beginning fall 2021. The certification is the first of its kind in the state of Iowa and is designed to help professionals develop self-care, social justice and crisis response skills.

Simpson has partnered with industry leader Starr Commonwealth to provide the fully online certification program, building on the College’s strong online reputation while addressing a growing societal need.

“We’re proud to offer this new online program to help professionals serve individuals who have experienced trauma at a time when there’s been so much discussion regarding non-violent interventions and mental health,” said John Woell, senior vice president and academic dean at Simpson. “The program fits with Simpson’s mission to provide high-quality online programs and to create better citizens in a complex world.”

The four-course certification program is ideal for any professional who works with at-risk youth or adults. A bachelor’s degree is necessary for enrollment. The required courses can be applied toward the master of arts in criminal justice degree at Simpson.

“Many professionals – including teachers, social workers and criminal justice practitioners – work with people who have faced traumatic experiences on a regular basis,” said Denise Leifker, associate professor and director of the master of arts in criminal justice program at Simpson. “Unfortunately, these same professionals don’t always have the skills needed to understand and assist the individuals they serve. This program was created to help improve that rising need.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than two-thirds of children reported at least one traumatic event by age 16. Those who experience trauma are more likely to experience learning and behavioral disorders, as well as become incarcerated. 

“At Starr Commonwealth, we are Driven to Heal trauma and build resilience in children and families,” said Elizabeth Carey, Starr Commonwealth president and CEO. “To do so, we must empower communities for whole health support. Criminal justice systems play a vital role in accomplishing this goal, and the positive ripple effect to such efforts creates a tremendous impact on the community’s future. We are honored to partner with Simpson College, and take pride in knowing that their students will help countless families flourish.”

Prospective students can learn more and apply at

About Simpson College
Simpson College is a private, liberal arts college located in Iowa with campuses in Indianola, West Des Moines and online. Founded in 1860, the college has 1,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Simpson offers 74 majors, minors and programs in addition to three graduate programs. Outside of the classroom, Simpson is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.