Sex Trafficking: A Global Issue
This summer, five Einstein medical students—Hilary Samuelson, Rachel Eilon Cohen, Yuliana Noah, Sarah Marx and Rachel Zolno—traveled to Vienna, Austria to take part in the 30th International Congress of the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA), attended by more than 600 medical professionals from more than 40 countries. The conference’s theme was “Generation Y: Challenges of the Future for Female Medical Doctors.”
(From left): Einstein students Yuliana Noah, Rachel Cohen, Rachel Zolno, Sarah Marx and Hilary Samuelson pose beside their poster at the 30th International Congress of the Medical Women’s International AssociationA highlight of their experience was the selection of their presentation “A Pilot Study Comparing Educational Modalities on Sex Trafficking Education in Medical School” as one of the top 10 posters of the conference.
"The MWIA congress provided us an invaluable opportunity to share our research and to develop connections with peers and mentors from around the world,” said Ms. Cohen, who is a member of the class of 2018.
“We left feeling incredibly humbled and empowered by our experience,” added Ms. Samuelson.
Members of the Einstein group became interested in the topic of sex trafficking while attending the 2015 national conference for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). As members of Einstein AMWA chapter board, the five learned more about the problem through the AMWA subcommittee Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH), and decided to raise greater awareness among their classmates at Einstein about the issue.
“People generally understand that sex trafficking is a problem, but are often unaware of the scope of the problem even in our country,” said Ms. Zolno.
“Our goal was to demonstrate to medical students how to identify patients who may be victims of trafficking, because as future physicians they will be in the unique position to recognize victims in the healthcare setting,” added Ms. Samuelson, who now serves on the national AMWA student division board as Region 2 (NY/NJ) director and as education co-chair of the PATH student division.
For their study, the team examined three different educational modalities—didactic lecture, interactive workshop and individual video modules—to evaluate their effectiveness in increasing student awareness, knowledge of sex trafficking and competency in interviewing patients. Each of the three sessions covered statistics on sex trafficking, risk factors for being trafficked, how to identify a victim and resources for providers who care for patients that may be victims of trafficking.
Theirs was the first study to evaluate three different means of increasing medical student knowledge about domestic sex trafficking. Working with Dr. Kanani Titchen, a fellow in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and an expert on child sex trafficking, the team conducted anonymous surveys on trafficking to assess the students’ knowledge before and after the sessions.
“We found that all three modalities led to a significant increase in knowledge among our classmates for identifying and addressing sex trafficking victims,” noted Ms. Zolno.
“And students overwhelmingly supported the idea that lessons concerning sex-trafficking issues should be an integral part of our education,” added Ms. Cohen.
Efforts are under way to incorporate the interactive workshop into a session on violence within the second-year curriculum, as part of Einstein’s Introduction to Clinical Medicine course. To accomplish this, the medical-student group is working under the guidance of their AMWA faculty advisor Dr. Nadine Katz, vice president of Montefiore and professor of clinical obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Einstein, and Dr. Holly Atkinson, co-chair of the national PATH committee who also served as the leader for the study’s interactive workshop and is faculty at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“This curriculum has been in the making for over a year, and we’re thrilled to be making a lasting contribution that can benefit both us as future providers and the countless individuals who might otherwise go unnoticed,” said Ms. Samuelson.”
Posted on: Friday, November 04, 2016