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Building a community‐academic partnership to improve screening for intimate partner violence: Integrating advocates in healthcare clinic settings

Abstract

Aims

To develop an innovative community-academic partnership to advance, test and promote intimate partner violence screening and referral protocols by comparing the effect of integrating intimate partner violence advocates versus enhancing medical training in medical clinic settings serving women from vulnerable populations. Detecting intimate partner violence in healthcare settings allows for survivors to connect to safety and referral resources prior to violence escalating. Screening for intimate partner violence and connecting patients to referral resources requires creating a safe and trusting relationship between healthcare providers and patients. Developing screening and referral protocols responsive to survivors' needs requires involvement of clinic staff, survivors and community agencies that support survivors.

Design

Three phases of the project include Discovery, Implementation and Dissemination. Mixed-methodology will help in understanding current practices and effects of interventions.

Methods

Actions included in each phase: Discovery: 1) nurse-led focus groups of clinic staff, providers and survivors to understand current clinic practices; 2) retrospective chart review of the number of screens performed, positive screens detected and interventions performed. Implementation: 1) randomization of patients to be interviewed by a trained advocate or by healthcare provider with enhanced training; and 2) assess the number of screenings and referrals performed in each arm and 3) evaluate outcomes of intervention. Dissemination through: presentations, manuscripts and policy recommendations at the institutional and regional level. This IRB-approved proposal was funded in July 2021 by an Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin grant.

Discussion

The partnership has improved channels of communication and understanding between diverse clinical care providers, survivors and community agency staff as they navigate the complex challenges to the development and integration of screening and referral protocols.

Impact

This project will provide evidence of the most effective intimate partner violence screening and referral methodology that can be utilized in a wide variety of medical settings.

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