147419 Addressing domestic violence as an oral health issue

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 3:15 PM

Joanne P. Brewer, MPH , Domestic Violence Program, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Dolores Aguirre , Domestic Violence Program, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Domestic violence is pervasive in our society, and crosses all boundaries of age, gender, class, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Thirty to forty percent of adult women report having been physically or sexually abused at some point during their lifetime, most often by a family member, intimate partner, or someone known to them. In addition to physical injuries (65-75% of which are visible in the head, face, and neck), the shame, isolation, and fear resulting from abuse can keep victims from accessing and/or completing dental care. Given the prevalence of domestic violence in our society, its associations with numerous health issues, including oral health, and the interconnectedness between oral health and overall health, it is critical that all health providers understand and be equipped to deal with this epidemic. Research has found that patients do want their health care providers to ask about abuse, and that victims will disclose abuse to someone they trust. By taking just a few extra minutes and asking a few key questions, dental professionals can play a critical role in helping patients who are experiencing abuse to find help, and will be able to more effectively address their oral health needs. Model protocols and promising practices will be shared.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define and describe domestic violence, including types, dynamics, and effects of abuse. 2. List and explain at least 3 ways in which domestic violence can compromise oral health 3. Articulate the role dental providers can play in responding to domestic violence as an oral health issue.

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.