Page 5 - DVCC Annual Report 2010-2011

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Dr. Isabel Butrymowicz stumbled onto
DVCC’s Medical Advocacy Project entirely
by accident while she was completing an
Internal Medicine Clerkship at the NYU
Medical Center and starting to look for
clinical research positions back home in
Connecticut. Scrolling through the Yale
New Haven Hospital webpage one evening,
she spotted an ad from VolunteersMatch.
org, which offered a short list of volunteer
opportunities, including one with MAP.
“The brief description of the program
piqued my interest,” Dr. Butrymowicz said.
“I worked with victims of domestic violence
during both my undergraduate and graduate
studies. When I started in medical school, I
remember being surprised at how little time is
allocated to identifying andhelpingvictims of
domestic violence. It is the reason I decided
to focus my senior year medical school thesis
on family violence.”
After joining Yale New Haven Hospital
as a Post-Doctoral Clinical Research
Professional, Dr. Butrymowicz offered her
volunteer services to DVCC. MAP Director
Susan Delaney quickly recognized her value
not only as a medical professional who was
dedicated to research, but also as someone
who clearly grasped the unique challenges
faced by victims of intimate partner violence
and who recognized that the medical
community too often failed to respond to
those challenges. Simultaneously, the doctor
was impressed by MAP’s mission.
“After meeting with Sue, I realized
the true magnitude of the program and its
importance,” she said. “When it comes to IPV,
there is a serious void in themedical education
and training system. Health professionals
will benefit from specialized training to help
identify, advocate for and treat victims. This
is a very vulnerable population with often
very complicated and multi-layered cases.”
Dr. Butrymowicz’ primary contributions
to MAP have utilized her skills as a medical
writer, educator and researcher. She helped
to develop the clinical seminars presented to
themedical community andoftenco-presents
these seminars with a MAP staff member.
Currently she is developing ways to assess
the quality and effectiveness of the Medical
AdvocacyProject inhospitals, clinics andwith
DVCC clients, information that is integral to
MAP’s status as amodel programfor the state.
“We are so lucky to have Dr. Isabel
Butrymowicz and Dr. Donna Clemmens
(see MAP story) as advisors to the Medical
Advocacy Project,” Susan Delaney said.
“Their extensive research backgrounds and
medical knowledge and their dedication
to promoting systems change for victims
of intimate partner violence make them
invaluable assets to our program.”
Medical Researcher at Yale New
Haven Hospital Assists MAP
identifying community resources for follow
up. The MAP advocates were informed last
fall that their abstract had been accepted for
presentation at the conference, to be held
March 30 – 31 in San Francisco.
“When I did an initial search of the
resources, literature and programs in this
area, I found very little written about
targeting the health needs of victims who
have experienced intimate partner violence,
especially for women in shelters,” Clemmens
said. “The partnership (between DVCC and
UCONN) was like the perfect marriage.
It’s really a service/learning project where
there is a need by the agency and SafeHouse
population for health care and advice and
the needs of the nursing students to better
understand the scope and depth and issues
related to this problem.”
To further emphasize the importance
of research and education when it comes to
understanding the health effects of intimate
partner violence, the DVCC in November
hosted a series of talks by Dr. Jacquelyn
Campbell, a professor at the Johns Hopkins
University School of Nursing, who has been
engaged in advocacy and policy work and
has conducted ground-breaking research in
the areas of domestic violence and health
outcomes for over 30 years. Dr. Campbell
enthralled and stunned audiences as she
described thehorrific toll that intimatepartner
violence takes on the physical and mental
health of its victims.
The effects go way beyond the visible
black eye or bruises often associated with
domestic violence and they may last for
years, even long after the abuse has stopped,
according to Dr. Campbell. Research shows
abuse victims to be at significant risk for
hypertension, high cholesterol, heart attacks,
strokes, chronic pain, chronic irritable bowel
syndrome and pregnancy-related problems.
Head injuries and strangulation put victims
at increased risk for strokes, memory loss,
seizures, blackouts, dizziness and difficulties
with concentrating. Many IPV victims are
sexually abused, resulting in STD’s, HIV,
cervical cancer and internal injuries. And
mental health repercussions of IPV include
higher incidences of depression, post
traumatic stress syndrome andsuicide.During
her presentation, Dr. Campbell discussed
ways medical staff could assist victims of
domestic violence and urged doctors to
develop greater awareness of the possible
connection between health problems and
IPV in their patients.
Finally, in addition to their ongoing
trainings within Fairfield County, DVCC
MAP advocates also have initiated regional
meetings with sister domestic violence
programs across the state with the aim of
assisting themin institutingmedical advocacy
programs in their catchment areas. DVCC’s
MAP is a model program and, through a
Department of Social Services grant, will
begin to provide technical assistance with
training curricula, sample policies, strategies
and guidelines towards the development of
similar hospital-based programs throughout
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