Domestic violence: An educational imperative?

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American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology


OBJECTIVE: Domestic violence is the most common cause of injury to women. Obstetrician-gynecologists, who most women consider their primary care physicians, have a unique role in identifying battered women. This study was designed to assess the extent and nature of current traiing curricula regarding domestic violence education in obstetrics and gynecology residencies. STUDY DESIGN: A survey sent to all obstetrics and gynecology residencies requested demographic data, the curriculum in respect to domestic violence, availability of interested faculty, the prevalence of battering among patients, satisfaction with the current teaching, and knowledge of pending logislation. Respondents were also asked which of 10 common clinical presentations would prompt their faculty to discuss the possibility the patient was being battered. RESULTS: Eighty-three percent of programs responded. The "typical" program was urban, had five residents per year, and had faculties of full-time academicians and part-time private practitioners. Twenty-eight percent reported having at least one faculty member with expertise in domestic violence. One third reported a prevalenceof battering of ≤ 1% with 6% estimating fewer than 1 in 1000. Seventy-five percent did not recognize at least one clinical scenario as suggestive of battering. The majority were dissatisfied with their teaching and wanted help in cuniculum development. Forty percent were unaware of pending legislation linking federal support of medical education to including domestic violence in curricula. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this survey highlight deficiencies in the education of obstetrics and gynecology residents about domestic violence. Programs report limited faculty interest, underestimate prevalence, fail to recognize common presentations, and are dissatisfied with their current curriculum. We are not preparing obstetrics and gynecology residents to care for patients with a common problem-domestic violence. © 1995.

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