Passavant Hospital Foundation committed to community education
Dangers of digital domestic violence, revenge porn, cyber bullying, and human trafficking are relevant topics in today’s world, and being brought to the forefront by the UPMC Passavant Domestic Violence Advisory Council and Passavant Hospital Foundation.
Passavant Hospital Foundation is committed to bringing education like this to communities and local professionals on a regular basis. For example, this month they are hosting the Sixth Annual Domestic Violence Conference at the Cumberland Woods Village in Allison Park
“It’s what’s happening right now today. You can’t put a price tag on education,” said Anthony R. Savannah, acting president of the Passavant Hospital Foundation.
Savannah said that nearly 6,000 people attended 93 health and wellness programs offered by the foundation and UPMC in fiscal year 2018. The subject for this year’s conference is “Our World Today: digital domestic violence and human trafficking.”
Kim Fennick, RN, BSN, is part of the UPMC Passavant Domestic Violence Advisory Council and helped organize this year’s event. She said they want to bring attention to the issues of cyber bullying, cyber assault and human trafficking, because these are important and relevant topics today.
“People don’t realize that these things are happening in their own backyard,” said Fennick, who’s been at UPMC Passavant since 2006. “We want to bring education out to the community.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s conference is Darieth Chisolm, an Emmy-award winning news anchor, including former prime time news anchor on NBC WPXI and host of IQSmart Parent on PBS WQED. She is also an author, speaker, life and business coach that will discuss differences between cyber bullying, cyber stalking and cyber harassment.
Chisolm is making the documentary “50 Shades of Silence” about cyber crimes after she was a victim by a former boyfriend.
“I didn’t know what it was. It didn’t know what to call this. It came out of left field for me,” said Chisolm, who is dedicated to educating about these crimes.
“We’re on our cell phones, laptops, and engaging online more than doing anything else. Any moment we can become victims of sexual assault,” she said.
She’s asking people to visit her site www.50shadesof silence.com to sign a petition to the U.S. Congress on the Enough Act, a bill of California Dem. Sen. Kamala Harris, to better criminalize revenge porn.
Passavant Hospital Foundation presentation also includes speakers regarding how to recognize cyberbullying and sexting and explain real life consequences that may occur; forms and indicators of human trafficking; and differences between human trafficking and other related phenomena such as immigration, smuggling and prostitution, as well as explore the underlying causes of human trafficking, according to Fennick.
It’s important to be able to identify victims of human trafficking and other crimes, but they aren’t always going to reveal this, said Fennick.
The domestic violence advisory council foundation and the Passavant Hospital Foundation will continue to bring important topics like this to the general public and medical professionals, legal professionals, and local clergy — anyone who may encounter situations like these, said Savannah.
He said a past event provided domestic violence education for area police who were trained on how to properly respond to victims of these crimes.
Also, he said these presentations provide continuing education credits for professionals.
The foundation representatives wanted to pass along to the community that there is at least one sexual assault nurse examiner trained or certified nurse at all UPMC facilities, who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of patients who have experienced sexual assault or abuse.
“It is critical to seek medical care immediately after experiencing any form of sexual assault or abuse,” according to Janet McFarland, RN, BSN, CEN, SANE-A, clinician and forensic coordinator at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.
Some UPMC facilities have more than one SANE nurse on staff, such as Magee, which has 23, and UPMC Mercy, which has a team of nine.
“Although we cannot guarantee in our system that a SANE will perform every evidence collection, we do strive for that goal,” added McFarland. In partnership with Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, there is a private room at Magee designated for victims of sexual assault, which is located within the emergency department.
For more information on the community education presentations, visit www.passavant hospitalfoundation.org .
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.