The portal project: A layered approach to integrating trauma into alcohol and other drug treatment for women

Sharon Cadiz, Andrea Savage, Diane Bonavota, James Hollywood, Erica Butters, Michelle Neary, Laura Quiros

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Palladia, Inc. is a not-for-profit, multi-service agency, located in New York City, serving primarily African-American and Latino communities. Palladia's Portal Project, in collaboration with the evaluation team from Hunter College School of Social Work (HCSSW), participated in the national Women, Co-Occurring Disorders and Violence study. We studied 270 women with co-occurring issues of alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems and mental illness, who had histories of violence, and were high end users of service. Palladia built an integrated system of care and implemented a comprehensive trauma-informed intervention that is designed to put trauma and safety first to assist women in remaining in treatment. Primacy of trauma in the early stages of treatment constitutes a major philosophical shift within the traditional residential drug treatment setting. The focus of the engagement and treatment process is on the role of trauma in the woman's life and its relationship to patterns of AOD abuse and mental illness. Another key feature of the Portal model is the emphasis on normalizing the adaptations which the women have made in response to interpersonal traumatic life events. The women feel less stigmatized and isolated. They are encouraged to see their former coping and adaptive behaviors as strengths rather than maladaptive weaknesses, deficiencies or character flaws. Support for the women in their parenting and family roles and attention to their individual perceptions of culture are also part of the intervention. Portal blends service intervention, policy development, research, and evaluation for effective service delivery. The collaborative work of this project has produced a replicable model that configures specific direct service enhancements and service system improvements, using the active involvement of consumers, practitioners, service providers and policy makers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalAlcoholism Treatment Quarterly
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Alcoholism
  • Drug abuse
  • Integration
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Urban
  • Women


Dive into the research topics of 'The portal project: A layered approach to integrating trauma into alcohol and other drug treatment for women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this