Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

Human Sex Trafficking Curriculum

Olivia Mittel,University of Louisville,Louisville,KY,Amanda Liewen,University of Louisville,Louisville,KY

Human sex trafficking is increasingly recognized as an important issue among both health care professionals and law enforcement agencies. Despite growing concern and increased educational initiatives, there is little formal undergraduate medical education on human sex trafficking in the literature. The Pediatric Clerkship at the University of Louisville implemented a training process to teach all third year medical students about the basics of sex trafficking, including how to identify its common signs, how to communicate with suspected victims, and how to refer those victims to safety.

We developed a Standardized Patient (SP) encounter in which a 16 year old girl presents with symptoms of primary genital HSV infection. The SP displays several “red flags” associated with trafficking victims such as avoidant behavior and characteristic tattoos. The clerkship student then is expected to initiate proper adolescent communication skills and the SP is encouraged to give very limited information about her social life and only then if the student first ensures confidentiality, respect and privacy. After the session, the student fills out a Step 2 CS style note listing the HPI, differential diagnoses with supporting evidence and treatment plans.

Following the encounter, the students are asked to complete an online “Soft Chalk” module on the subject of human sex trafficking. This module serves to debrief the students with respect to the encounter, instruct them on the topic of trafficking, and highlight the red flags demonstrated by the SP. It is an interactive case base module that defines human trafficking, discusses its prevalence and describes how the medical professional can intervene. It includes both a pre-quiz to assess understanding and a post-quiz to determine what they have learned.

The ultimate goal of this learning objective is to incorporate basic adolescent care and communication skills with awareness and understanding of a dangerous global industry that is affecting many of our patients. With this educational module, all graduating medical students from the University of Louisville will have the knowledge necessary to have human sex trafficking on their differentials, thus enabling them to identify victims and intercept them from their captors.