LUCOM student-doctors participate in Child Abuse Awareness Week
Student-doctors from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) are continuing to follow the mission and vision of the medical school by participating in Child Abuse Awareness Week, April 4-8, a joint effort with Liberty University School of Law (LUSOL).
“Child abuse exists, and the longer we continue to pretend it doesn't exist, more children will be harmed,” said student-doctor James Davis, class of 2018.
Davis is a member of LUCOM-American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP), which helped organize events at the Center for Medical and Health Sciences throughout the week. The events included the showing of a documentary “The Pursuit of Truth,” a pinwheel ceremony to represent victims of child abuse, and a guest speaker and child abuse survivor, Mary DeMuth. Student-doctors were also encouraged to wear blue for child abuse awareness in exchange for a donation to Miriam’s House in Lynchburg, a shelter for women and children.
LUSOL hosted several similar events on their campus throughout the week and also put together a community “Game Night” and fundraiser for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Central Virginia.
“Ultimately, awareness alone will not bring an end to child abuse, but it certainly won’t end without it. Educating people about the signs of child abuse and how they should respond when they suspect child abuse is a huge step in ending it,” said Kendra Roth, LUSOL Child Advocacy Society secretary.
In the future, both groups hope to continue working together so that physicians and lawyers will fully understand what an abused child is going through both medically and legally. This full circle of understanding will help student-doctors better care for a child’s mind, body and spirit.
“In regards to child abuse, doctors need to know the legal proceedings and obligations just as lawyers need to understand the clinical basis for a doctor's report,” said Davis.
“Both attorneys and physicians need to be educated on how to interact with a child victim due to the potentially invasive nature of their job. That child has already been victimized, and it is so important that any examination done by both physicians and attorneys does not re-victimize that child,” said Roth.