As one of the oldest hospital systems in Virginia and the first level 1 comprehensive trauma center in the commonwealth, our goal is to lead and support our communities towards healthier lives and work with those most vulnerable and who have suffered health disparities. Our healthcare system has hospitals in locations that serve both urban and rural communities that are experiencing health, income and racial disparities. Our mission in the Injury and Violence Prevention Program (IVPP) is to reduce and prevent injuries through ongoing education, research, and community outreach throughout the central Virginia region, the eastern Virginia region and parts of the Southwest Virginia region where our hospital systems have a presence and have established close connections to local community partners. We provide direct services to our patients, our students at the University, and our team members across the hospital system, as well as collaborating with our community partners in working with their consumers. We also provide training on screening and identification to our healthcare providers, collaborate closely with community partners such as local domestic violence centers, mental health and substance abuse programs programs, and departments of health in all our localities.
The Purpose of our Proposal is to create a statewide and replicable program to train substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers on domestic and intimate partner violence (DIVP) and address the intersection of DIVP and SUD during pregnancy and postpartum period. We will (1) Incentivize SUD provider treating pregnant and postpartum patients to be trained on identifying and addressing DIVP; (2) Train SUD providers both internal to the VCUHealthSystem and external to the community to address DIPV with patients and cross train IPV staff on SUD; (3) Ensure our programs and our partners’ programs identify, utilize, and disseminate best practices in IPV screening, response, and it’s integration with SUD; (4) Integrate IPV and SUD protocols into medical practice on participating units across the VCU HealthSystem and associated community partner clinics; (5) Expand perinatal and postpartum programs into existing SUD programs both within VCYHealthSystem and community based partners; (6) Collaborate with IVPP Research/Evaluation team to implement a process and outcomes evaluation to demonstrate whether there was an improvement in IPV-SUD health outcomes in the pregnant and postpartum period; (7) Bring together SUD providers and Peri/Post Natal (otherwise referred to as Maternal Health providers) with those working to prevent and respond to violence against women. Our goal is to improve health outcomes and reduce deaths among perinatal and postpartum patients associated with SUD through early screening, enhanced advocacy and support, education and secure links to treatment. Our program will address the intersection of violence against women and substance abuse with an attention to perinatal and postnatal survivors.
VCUHS plans to implement this program under VCU-IVPP/Project Empower, a hospital-community based violence prevention intervention program dedicated to serving victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking and pairing with the VCU Health System services for perinatal and postnatal folks and IVPP Research/Evaluation; in concert with our local and regional maternal health and mortality stakeholders working to prevent violence against women and address the intersection of SUD and violence against women, in particular pregnant/postpartum. Project Empower is a comprehensive program focused responding to intentional and unintentional injuries and has developed extensive collaborations with our communities and local centers over the last ten years.