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Trauma-Informed Care for Survivors of Sexual Violence: A Medical Student-Driven Experiential Learning Workshop

Purpose: SafeMD is a medical student organization dedicated to providing leadership, advocacy, and education on sexual assault to improve the healthcare received by sexual assault survivors. Innovations in sexual assault education for medical students are vital to improving awareness of sexual violence and care for survivors, who include a significant portion of our society, including a disproportionately high percentage of marginalized populations, yet receive very little attention in the traditional medical curriculum.


Background: Sexual assault is a pervasive issue that requires attention by the medical community. Vital to this endeavor is an effective curriculum to provide the knowledge for medical professionals to address sexual violence (SV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) within our communities and with our patients. 


Methods: Students at Michigan Medicine established SafeMD, a peer-led organization that identifies and addresses areas of need in curricular and co-curricular efforts to address sexual assault. This advocacy work serves to educate our community, teach bystander intervention and provide trauma informed training to care for survivors of SV and IPV. To accomplish this mission, we developed educational seminars and are assessing their impact.  


Results: SafeMD developed a trauma-informed care experiential learning co-curricular workshop. This was led by Dr. Lauren Owens (OB/GYN) and SafeMD medical student leaders. This workshop used interactive learning techniques to teach trauma-informed care principles with the goal of enhancing care for survivors of SV and IPV. Results from a pre/post survey of participants showed significantly increased perceptions of ability to appropriately screen and care for survivors of IPV.


Discussions: This work acts as a framework for other medical schools to adopt similar peer-led groups. With further development and assessment of this intervention, future physicians will be able to better support both those in the medical community and patients who have survived sexual assault and IPV.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Student, Resident, Faculty, Patient Care, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, GME, CME, UME, Simulation, Team-Based Learning, General Ob-Gyn,

General Information

Patient Care,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Simulation,Team-Based Learning,
Clinical Focus
General Ob-Gyn,

Author Information

Petrina LaFaire, MD, North Shore/Long Island Jewish Hospital; Isabel Shidla, BA

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