Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day 2006
Oct 11, 2006
Dozens of hospitals, clinics, medical students and educators around the nation are holding activities on October 11 and throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month for the eighth annual Health Cares About Domestic Violence (HCADV) Day. These events encourage health care providers to routinely assess patients for domestic violence. For the second year, the American Medical Students Association (AMSA) is partnering with the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) to organize medical school campuses around this issue.
“Doctors, nurses and other health care providers can do so much to help victims of domestic and sexual violence, but often they miss this opportunity because they are not trained to inquire about abuse,” said FVPF Managing Director Debbie Lee. “Domestic violence has immediate health consequences, but it can also cause dangerous, life-threatening conditions that affect victims and survivors throughout their lives. Health care providers routinely assess their patients for high blood pressure and cigarette smoking, but too few ask their patients if they are experiencing violence. We aim to change that.”
Among the many HCADV Day activities set for October 11:
- CA: The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence is sponsoring, “Californians Uniting to End Domestic Violence: A Statewide Day of Awareness.” The event, on the West steps of the Capitol building in Sacramento, will include speakers, live entertainment, information booths and refreshments. Additional event activities include “Silent Witness” displays provided by Kaiser Hospital and Yolo County.
- DC: The Sexual Violence Awareness Group at George Washington University will team with the AMSA Chapter and the Ob/Gyn Group for a lunchtime event that will feature a video, “Voices for Survivors” and a panel discussion featuring psychologists, doctors and survivors.
- FL: The Pre-Medical AMSA Women in Medicine Committee at the University of Florida will distribute information at a table at the University’s Student Union building in Gainesville. The material will include information about domestic violence and contact information for hotlines.
- FL: The University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine chapter of the AMSA, partnering with the Victims Services Center, is hosting a lunchtime workshop for students on domestic violence. The session will feature domestic abuse survivors discussing their experiences with domestic violence screening, and domestic violence treatment in a health-care setting.
- KY: The University of Kentucky, College of Medicine is sponsoring a panel discussion on domestic violence for medical students. Speakers will include a clinician, a patient, and others. Program participants will also hand out quick-reference cards to attendees and place posters in waiting areas of the hospital with information on how to contact a crisis hotline.
- MI: The University of Michigan is sponsoring an interactive peer education workshop on domestic and dating violence for first- and second-year medical students. The session is organized by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center at the University. Throughout the month, the University will sponsor a series of other activities, as well, including separate panel discussions with survivors of domestic violence, and health care providers; a clothesline project for display in lecture building hallways; a donation drive for a local domestic violence shelter; and a screening of a documentary and a follow-up discussion.
- OR: Asante Health System in Medford is sponsoring brown bag workshop trainings on screening, setting up informational booths, and holding a vigil organized by two hospital-based domestic violence programs. Presentations will be given to various departments, screenings will be conducted throughout the hospital, and an article on the importance of screening will be featured in the hospital newsletter.
Because domestic and sexual violence are so prevalent and have such detrimental health and social consequences, the FVPF is also using HCADV Day to call on Congress to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act. “That bill includes critical provisions to improve the health care response to domestic, sexual and dating violence and stalking, and to help children who witness abuse,” said FVPF President Esta Soler. “But we need to fund the programs the law was designed to support.”
The health care cost of intimate partner violence, physical assault and stalking totals $5.8 billion each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Screening materials from the FVPF’s National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence are available through the Health Resource Center’s toll-free hotline, 1-888-rx-abuse or 1-800-595-4889 (tty), or visit www.endabuse.org/health.