SONHS Participates in National Initiative to integrate IPV Screening into Healthcare System

July 15, 2014 — It was a day that increased knowledge and changed outlooks regarding screening for intimate partner violence (IPV) among healthcare providers in Dade County. SONHS Assistant Professor and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar Dr. Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda and Ph.D. student Valerie Halstead, in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Domestic Violence Education and Awareness Program representatives, facilitated an educational activity on “Domestic Violence and the Role of the Healthcare Provider: Assessment and Intervention Strategies” on June 26, 2014 at the University of Miami Hospital.

The seminar was presented by Anna Trautwein, RNC, Practice Administrator of Women’s Ambulatory Care Services at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Trautwein, who has over 35 years of experience in women’s healthcare and is an acknowledged expert in IPV, was joined by Elaine Hewins, Program Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Education and Awareness Program, RWJUH Community Health Promotion Program. Earlier in the week, Hewins and Trautwein shared their curriculum and materials with their SONHS hosts, Gonzalez-Guarda and Halstead, who will in the coming months conduct similar trainings at additional healthcare provision sites throughout the county, including Miami Children’s Hospital. The educational sessions are part of a larger initiative which seeks to have all healthcare providers nationwide screen all women of childbearing age, and patients outside of that group with indicators for IPV.

“Whether or not a patient visiting a healthcare facility is there for emergency or routine care, statistics show a significant percentage of them, especially (but not only) women, have been or are being abused,” says Gonzalez-Guarda, who is a nationally recognized expert in the field of IPV. “Unfortunately many healthcare providers are uncomfortable screening for IPV, partly because they do not know what to ask and what to do once they identify the existence of abuse. The goal of this session at UM hospital, and the subsequent ones we are planning at other community healthcare sites, is to challenge the beliefs of frontline healthcare professionals related to IPV, to give them the skills to recognize abused patients, and to help them learn how to connect survivors with available resources.”

A similar program conducted by the RWJUH in partnership with the School of Social Work in their city indicated that participants learned a basic foundation of IPV as well as how to effectively screen and connect abuse survivors with community resources, and 77.7% said they felt more confident in working with IPV survivors as a direct result of the training.

A total of 43 UMH providers completed the June 26th session, including nurses, physicians, social workers and students.

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