Watch the Research Symposium on Screening & Counseling for Intimate Partner Violence at the National Institutes of Health

Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Counseling Research SymposiumHHS’ Coordinating Council on Women’s Health recently hosted a historic discussion of the research needed to help healthcare providers serve women who have experienced violence by an intimate partner (IPV). A Department-wide effort, the Intimate Partner Violence Screening & Counseling Research Symposium was co-hosted by the Family Violence Division of the Family and Youth Services Bureau at ACF, the Office on Women’s Health, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Now available for viewing online, the Symposium brought together the country’s top clinical researchers, medical practitioners, domestic violence experts and policy makers to examine the current state of the science, highlight best practices, and identify research gaps that need to be addressed in order to advance the health sector’s response to IPV; over 270 individuals attended in person, with another 100 participating online through the NIH videocast.

IPV is a serious, yet preventable public health problem that affects more than 1 in 3 women in the United States each year, regardless of age, economic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.[1] An extensive body of research reveals that victims of IPV often suffer lifelong health consequences, such as emotional trauma, lasting physical impairment, chronic health problems, and even death.[2] Last January, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recognized this impact by recommending that clinicians screen women of childbearing age for IPV and refer those who screen positive to intervention services. This recommendation strongly echoed the Department’s guidelines for women’s preventive services in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which states that screening and counseling for IPV by a health provider must be covered by insurance without cost-sharing. Given the trust that develops between a patient and her physician, medical providers are in a unique position to assess and offer support for women who experience IPV.

The Symposium built on the vision behind the ACA guidelines to promote the health and wellbeing of all women. Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell kicked off the day with a discussion of what brief counseling providers should offer as part of the screening and assessment process. As a leading researcher and practitioner working on the frontlines with survivors, Dr. Campbell shared her thoughts on what constitutes an adequate and empowering response to a patient who discloses IPV. This and other topics were examined throughout the day, inspiring critical conversations around themes such as trauma-informed screening methods; culturally-competent screening and counseling; the ethics of screening; barriers to research, and more. A lunchtime discussion led by the Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a grantee of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, featured the unique perspectives of survivors on how to best equip providers to ask the right questions and follow-up with an appropriate, sensitive response.

Complementing the topics discussed at the Symposium, the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence (HRCDV) has developed an online toolkit that shares training materials, safety cards and health-setting specific resources for advocates and healthcare providers, which can be accessed at www.healthcaresaboutipv.org. In addition to viewing the HRCDV’s toolkit, please visit the National Library of Medicine website, which features a newly created collection of women’s health resources across federal agencies, including programs of the Family and Youth Services Bureau, and additional background on the Symposium. “As we move ahead in expanding the knowledge base from the Symposium, we are committed to improving our understanding of how healthcare providers and domestic violence programs can partner to respond to survivors’ needs,” says Dr. Marylouise Kelley, FVPSA Director. “This will also mean continuing to leverage the expertise of the Health Resource Center to inform national efforts to increase awareness and offer training.”

To view the videocast of the Intimate Partner Violence Screening & Counseling Research Symposium, visit: http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=13387

To learn more about FYSB’s Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, visit: www.healthcaresaboutipv.org