Healthcare providers recognized for medical advocacy

By Alyssa Donovan

March 19, 2013 Updated Mar 19, 2013 at 6:55 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.-- Local healthcare providers are being recognized for their work with victims of abuse and violence.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse held its 19th annual Partners in Peace Awards Tuesday.

Methodist Medical Center, O-S-F Saint Francis Medical Center, Pekin Hospital and Proctor Hospital were each honored for their work in medical advocacy.

The Center's Executive Director Martha Herm says the partnership with the hospitals is vital to the community.

Herm said, "Our advocates are on call 24-7 to go to the emergency departments whenever a rape or a battered victim comes to present there."

The Keynote Speaker, Doctor Sara Rusch also received an award for the partnership with the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

The Regional Dean spoke about a new curriculum that will help detect elder abuse.

Rusch said, "The idea is that by having an actor type patient which the Center of the Prevention of Abuse will provide in the form of some of their volunteers, working with a medical student. That we will actually be able to train people in the medical community both to identify abuse, be able to ask the appropriate questions and then know what their referral sources are."

OSF Medical Center Doctor Jessica Gedraitis says elder abuse is a growing problem.

Gedraitis said, “For me personally I usually see maybe 1 to 2 cases of abuse myself per month but there are 35 other physicians in our group so we probably see multiple cases."

Rusch says physicians are not well trained in detecting abuse and are sometimes uncomfortable asking the necessary questions.

She said, “We believe by working as a medical community more closely with the social service and non-for-profits in our community that we can develop a better system for improving care."

Rusch says the new curriculum will begin in July with 3rd year medical students.

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