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Dignity Health Launches Free Online Manual to Improve Care for Victims of Human Trafficking

Resources Enable Sytems to Replicate Human Trafficking Medical Safe Haven Model


San Francisco, Calif. – March 18, 2019 Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems, announced today the publication of the Human Trafficking Medical Safe Haven Program and Shared Learnings Manual, an online collection of resources for medical residency programs and physicians interested in replicating the system’s Medical Safe Haven model. The Shared Learnings Manual includes guidance for long-term, integrated care for human trafficking survivors across diverse clinical environments.


Building on the success of Dignity Health’s Human Trafficking Response (HTR) Program, which trained physicians and staff system-wide to identify and support trafficked individuals, the Medical Safe Haven model creates a safe space where providers can give ongoing, longitudinal care for patients  using survivor-informed practices that actively work to avoid re-traumatization. Care is provided in outpatient settings to patients who may have been initially identified in a hospital. Dignity Health piloted the Medical Safe Haven model at their Mercy Family Health Center in Sacramento, and to date they have provided victim-centered, trauma-informed care in more than 1,000 encounters with nearly 250 patients who have experienced sex or labor trafficking.


“Nearly 88 percent of sex trafficking survivors have contact with a health care system while being exploited,” said Holly Gibbs, Director of the Dignity Health Human Trafficking Response Program and human trafficking survivor. “We believe health care providers can play a crucial role in identifying and supporting both labor and sex-trafficked persons. Our goal is to support as many survivors as possible, which is why we have, and will continue to, make these resources available to other health providers and care partners online at no cost.”


With more than 540 family medicine residency clinics in the U.S., this model has the potential to change the way health care is delivered to one of the most vulnerable, yet overlooked, populations. It’s cost-effective, multi-disciplinary design makes it easy for clinics to integrate and it prevents patients from having to go from clinic to clinic to receive care, thereby reducing re-traumatization for victims.


“This model was developed to help health care professionals identify, respond to, and provide integrated longitudinal care for patients who may be at risk of human trafficking. This is a multidisciplinary approach that engages community agencies and uses trauma-informed techniques and  survivor-informed practices,” said Dr. Ronald Chambers, FAAFP, Medical Director, Medical Safe Haven, and Human Trafficking Response Physician Advisor. “As we continue to expand this model and share across systems, we hope to see a ripple effect, wherein the next generation of doctors takes this training to their hospitals, practices, and communities to further its impact.”


The need for human trafficking victim/survivor identification and support cannot be overstated. There are more than 40 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, according to the Global Slavery Index, and in 2017 alone, the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline received more than 8,500 tips – nearly 2,000 of which involved children. 


For more information on Dignity Health’s HTR program, please visit


About Dignity Health
Dignity Health is a multi-state nonprofit network of 10,000 physicians, more than 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals, and 400-plus care-centers, including community hospitals, urgent care, surgery and imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality, and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In FY 2018, Dignity Health provided $2.1 billion in charitable care and services. Dignity Health is a part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit health system committed to advancing health for all people and dedicated to serving the common good. For more information, please visit our website at




Chad Burns
Dignity Health           
(415) 544-2364
[email protected] 


Publish date: 

Monday, March 18, 2019