One thing that makes trauma transgenerational is narrative. Narrative, for example, is what makes a Confederate flag from 1865 flint for insurrection in 2021. Consequences of global and domestic insults, such as slavery and forced migration, have long ramified intergenerationally in communities, families, and individuals’ bodies. Legacies of trauma travel in stories across places and over time, and their effects include health status inequity and cumulative stress embodiment. Transmission of historically entrenched patterns of oppression also influence persons’ lived experiences of marginalization, convey health risk, and can play out during clinical encounters.
Dr Zoe Tao and Dr Michael Oldani join Ethics Talk to discuss how learning about transgenerational trauma can help clinicians motivate health equity, especially among historically marginalized groups like Native American and First Nations communities.