"The silence in the room is palpable. I forget now what question was asked, but it must have touched a nerve, because the stony-faced 17 year old girl sitting in front of me suddenly seems small and vulnerable instead of apathetic and hardened. The whole of her body quivers with the effort of holding back tears. And I sit there, waiting, letting her know that I’m here when she’s ready to tell me her story.
"There have been an abundance of transformative moments for me in my training as a Resident with the Mercy/Methodist Family Medicine Program, but as a female provider and, more importantly, a human being, none have been quite as earth shattering in nature as my work with survivors of human trafficking. We’re taught, as doctors, to empower our patients to take back their health, to lend an empathetic ear to the grieving, and to optimize the treatment of disease while working to prevent others. The patients I have seen through our human trafficking program test me to the core: they require (and deserve) gentle empowerment, need more empathy than I previously thought I had, and call for more creativity and sensitivity in treating and preventing disease. Every encounter stretches me…I am a better doctor and person for it.
"A few months ago, if that same 17 year old girl sat in front of me, I can guarantee you that I would have been exasperated by her indifference. How many times have I internally posed the question, “If you’re not going to talk to me or listen to anything I say, why are you here?” Our program’s efforts in educating residents about the challenges these young men and women face has deeply transformed how I see the patient in front of me, whether they are a victim of human trafficking or not. It’s taught me to ask the hard questions, to lean into my own discomfort for the sake of hearing this person’s story. It’s taught me to look and listen for what is really happening, understanding that the “poor historian” may be so severely traumatized the s/he is not capable of stringing together events in time. It’s taught me to be patient with silence. To say that I have benefitted from this training is an understatement. It is a privilege. It is humbling. It makes me a better family doctor.”
– Sarah Chaffin MD, Resident Physician
“One woman we brought to Mercy Family Health Center, had a history of 25 pimps, and childhood sexual abuse. She was fearful of doctors and had never had a health exam. While she was in our housing program, she grew in ways she had never dreamed of, and then in the process of breaking free from all substance abuse she emotionally began to unravel. We were immediately able to get her into Mercy Family Health Center where the team spent two hours with her, and over the next two months would call and check on her. She was treated with kindness, medical expertise, and the care needed to transition from crisis to stabilization. This intervention saved her life!”
– Rachelle, City of Refuge
“I was privileged to witness firsthand the remarkable work of Mercy Family Health Center. They have been a true blessing to the women we serve, women who have never received such compassionate and understanding care, can now trust and believe in the medical system because of this team. We are very grateful and will continue to bring our women to the clinic of care and love.”
– Sawan, Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH)
“We sincerely appreciate Dr. Chamber’s commitment to women who have been sex-trafficked. Because he and his staff understand the women we serve, they are able to address the health and wellness issues that are often missed or not easily discussed by our clients. The women we serve are enjoying success, instead of constant struggle, because of the great work of his team."
– Terri Galvan, Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH)
"The overall professionalism, warmth, sensitivity and genuine concern of staff at Mercy Family Health Center(MFHC) has been amazing to witness. From the first day I took my client in, she noticed a complete change in service from her previous provider, she was in utter shock at the kindness she received from everyone at MFHC.
At her very first visit, Dr. Chambers came in to introduce himself, he wasn't the assigned physician, but the mere fact that he came to meet the patient, explain services and say, “we are here for you and your medical needs” broke down so many barriers and began a connection. Our client didn't understand why he did that but the more we talked about it, she realized he was being REAL!
Recently, the physicians at MFHC supported our client as she delivered a healthy baby. The care our client has received from the physicians and clinic staff have been exceptional.
Our client received a framed photo of her and her newborn baby, as a gift from the Mercy Family Health Center, that meant so much; It's the little things, the consistency and follow-through that has helped shaped this relationship and overall experience!
– Timiza Wash, M.Ed, Anti-Trafficking Program Manager, WEAVE™