249680 Impact of Trauma on the Well-Being of Women and Girls across the Lifespan

Sunday, October 30, 2011

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 significant morbidities across the life span of women. Unbeknownst to the vast majority of health and service providers, trauma significantly impacts the health, mental health and senses of safety and well-being for considerable numbers of women and girls; one in six men experience sexual abuse or assault before the age of 18, while one in four women will endure the same traumas. The type of victimization, the victims' experience of it, and the consequences of it differ dramatically based on the victims' sex and gender making it necessary to address trauma from a sex and gender perspective. If left untreated, 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 and obesity at disparate rates. In response to the gravity of trauma's role in the lives of women and girls and growing interest of health service providers, we developed a wide modality of trainings that focus on increasing information available to and capacity of care providers to first, understand the prevalence and impact of trauma on women, and second, to treat all women and girls appropriately regardless of trauma history. We have found that in many cases, trauma-informed providers avoid re-traumatization and create more supportive environments for patients to begin the healing process.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the prevalence and gender-specific impact of trauma on the physical, mental and behavioral health of women and girls 2. Identify current health disparities of women affected by trauma 3. Describe the principles of trauma-informed care and how to initiate it within various service settings

Keywords: Women's Health, Health Care Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Department of Health and Human Services, Region V, Regional Women's Health Coordinator and have significant experience on issues related to women's health, specifically trauma.
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.