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Resident Physician Education in the Human Trafficking Medical Safe Haven

NCJ Number
Date Published

This article reports on the impacts of Medical Safe Haven program, to address victims and survivors of human trafficking through trauma-informed care, and notes the study’s methodology, outcomes, limitations, and successes.


Human trafficking is a widespread public health problem across the United States. In recognition of the incredible need among victims and survivors of human trafficking for longitudinal, trauma-informed care, the Medical Safe Haven (MSH) was developed in 2016 through the Dignity Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Sacramento, California, and subsequently expanded to 2 other Dignity Health residency program sites. The MSH program included 3 sessions of trafficking-specific curriculum for resident physicians to prepare them to provide care for MSH patients. The current study aimed to evaluate resident physician learner confidence after participating in the MSH curriculum along with perceptions of the MSH program upon their graduation. The study was a retrospective, pre-assessment/post-assessment design. Resident physicians completed surveys that assessed learner confidence after each of the 3 training sessions, utilizing Likert scale items. Third-year resident physicians also completed a survey that included scaled and open-ended questions. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate the data in addition to content analysis for the open-ended questions. There were significant increases in learner confidence after the training sessions on all items measured, including identifying and caring for victims and survivors of trafficking. Third-year residents responded that the MSH program helped them to more effectively communicate and care for victims and survivors and many planned to take the trauma-informed care model to their future practices. While generalizability of the study was limited due to the retrospective design, the MSH program was found to have a meaningful impact on the resident physicians who participated in the training. (Published Abstracts Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023