244882 Impact of Trauma on the Rights and Well-Being of Women and Girls across the Lifespan

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:50 PM

Michelle D. Hoersch, MS , Office on Women's Health - Region V, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chicago, IL
Trauma-informed care represents a crucial element to improving care and decreasing the significant morbidities associated with trauma across the lifecycle of women. Since women are disproportionately victims of certain types of trauma and because the victims' reactions frequently also follow sex and gender-specific patterns, it is necessary to address trauma from a sex and gender perspective. The experiences of women and girls may include a single traumatic event or complex events involving domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, mental illness, suicide, homelessness, community violence, school violence, war, religious conflict, natural disasters, emergencies, or human-caused disaster. The violations of women's rights associated with many of these traumas alone justify intervention. Moreover, research findings suggest that if left unchecked, trauma-affected women and girls become vulnerable to other traumatic events, PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse problems and elevated rates of chronic disease, including, but not limited to heart disease. Given the gravity of these health outcomes, the presented collaborative effort has developed and implemented initiatives that address the lack of information regarding exposure to trauma, the impact of trauma on women and girls, and the need to provide trauma-informed care. Some examples include efforts to increase awareness among caregivers and informing policy. Trauma-informed care thus offers a vital framework for alleviating the physical and mental health burdens of trauma for women and girls, increasing sensitivity of medical professionals and their capacity to appropriately serve victims of trauma, and preventing retraumatization.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Define trauma, trauma-informed and gender responsive care Describe the basic principles of trauma-informed care Identify methods for educating health and social service providers about trauma and adopting trauma-informed care in their practices

Keywords: Adult and Child Mental Health, Quality of Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Regional Women's Health Coordinator for Health and Human Services Region V and oversee programming related to trauma and trauma-informed care.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.