“We treat symptoms of pain,” said Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Jessica Williams, an assistant professor at UNC School of Nursing. “We aren’t really thinking about what might be the root case of the pain.”
Williams has observed that many health care practitioners are not trained to identify trauma as a cause for chronic conditions, nor or they trained for situations where a patient discloses trauma. With both physical and emotional trauma being prevalent among those with chronic conditions, it is important to recognize how certain factors can affect a patient’s experience.
“Oftentimes when we address issues of abuse, we address it from a social services or criminal justice perspective,” said Williams. “We [tend to] focus on it much less from a health perspective.”
To address these challenges, Williams facilitates trainings for health care providers and domestic violence resource centers, centered in a partnership between the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and North Carolina Community Health Center Association.