LU School of Law professor addresses child abuse, medical field
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are one million confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect each year.
In just a short time, student-doctors will be face-to-face with these children in doctor’s offices across the nation.
“Unfortunately, very few medical schools teach student-doctors about the variety of issues related to child abuse. As a result, physicians end up having to learn ‘on the job,’ and the biggest losers are the children,” said Basyle Tchividjian, Liberty University School of Law (LUSOL) professor.
Tchividjian teaches Child Abuse and the Law at LUSOL and is working with Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) to better prepare student-doctors for the challenges they will face.
“One of the areas we emphasize in the course is the critically important role physicians play in many child abuse prosecutions and the need for prosecutors and physicians to work together on behalf of abused children,” said Tchividjian.
In a presentation on Feb. 8 hosted by LUCOM-Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), Tchividjian focused on explaining the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood mistreatment and a person’s health later in life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Preventative Medicine in San Diego worked together on the research.
Tchividjian explained the ten “adverse childhood experiences” referenced in the study; traumatic events like sexual abuse, the mother treated violently or a household member imprisoned. The study says one or more adverse childhood experience during childhood increases risk of health issues like cancer, heart disease, STDs and more.
“If physicians understand the implications of the study, they will be much more prepared to better treat children who have experienced adverse childhood trauma and will also understand and identify the relationship between childhood trauma and the mental/physical illnesses in adulthood patients,” said Tchividjian.
“Professor Tchividjian really made us more aware that child abuse is such a big issue and how we as student-doctors need to able to detect and prevent it to provide a better future for our pediatric patients,” said Pranamya Mahankali, class of 2018, LUCOM-SOMA president. “How we can start is by simply just asking the right questions in a very professional and compassionate way.”
Tchividjian is encouraged by the relationship between LUSOL and LUCOM so far. He is looking forward to more opportunities to interact with student-doctors in the future.
“I hope and pray that Liberty University will lead the world in equipping both lawyers and physicians on how to best work together in combatting the horrors of child abuse. I think Jesus would like that very much,” concluded Tchividjian.