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A unique pilot program at the Mercy Family Health Center at Methodist Hospital is helping victims of human trafficking by providing a medical safe haven. Physicians, nurses and staff at the health center are trained in recognizing the signs and symptoms of victimization in human trafficking patients, who often have anxiety and are mistrustful of the system. Caregivers spend hours with these patients in clinic to gain their trust.
The program is part of Dignity Health's efforts to end human trafficking in the communities it serves. Other non-profit organizations that provide services for traumatized victims of exploitation are praising the program and its director, Ron Chambers, MD, who hopes to spread its success to other residency clinics across the country.
Sammy Caiola, health reporter for the Sacramento Bee, interviewed Dr. Chambers about the pilot. She also interviewed physicians in residency at the clinic, human trafficking survivors, and representatives from nonprofit agencies such as CASH (Community Against Sexual Harm), and City of Refuge.
Read the article.
Addressing the critical needs of human trafficking victims is a top priority for the Sisters of Mercy, Dignity Health and Mercy Foundation. Mercy Foundation is currently raising philanthropic support to ensure Dr. Chambers and the Mercy Family Health Center are equipped with the resources needed to continue providing care for the increasing number of victims that come through their door each week. Funding raised for this effort will also be used to fund a new, Mobile Trauma Therapy Team – a partnership established with the Sacramento Family Justice Center and other local, community based organizations to provide comprehensive behavioral health care. The program will include an emergency response team, an art therapy program, and a language interpreter. Individual and group counseling will help victims overcome their trauma; rebuild their self-esteem; and develop hope for their future. To learn more about how you can support human trafficking efforts in the Sacramento region, please contact Kaci Baldi, Mercy Foundation’s manager of hospital and community relations at [email protected].