Eskenazi Health Recognized with National Crime Victims’ Service Award

The Eskenazi Health Gender Health Program and the Eskenazi Health Center of Hope were recognized with the Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services by the Office for Victims of Crime. This award was among the 2022 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards. The award ceremony took place in Washington, D.C. on April 29.

The Eskenazi Health Gender Health Program, the first of its kind in Indiana, provides access to a network of primary care and specialty services for adult transgender patients of all gender identities. Established in 2016, the program has grown to include a multidisciplinary team of providers who help patients with access to services such as gender-affirming hormone therapy, gender affirming surgery, speech therapy, dietitian services, counseling services, medication management for mental health needs, PrEP for HIV prevention, family planning and gynecological services, spiritual care, legal assistance, case management, and referral services.

Studies have shown staggering statistics of acts of violence committed against transgender and non-binary individuals. Gender Health Program providers have found this to be true among their patients as well, and the need for a dedicated advocate to address patients’ past histories of assault and victimization quickly became apparent. In 2020, Eskenazi Health secured a grant through the Office for Victims of Crime to fund two victim advocate positions. One victim advocate is placed in the Gender Health Program and the other is stationed in the Michael & Susan Smith Emergency Department and sees LGBTQ+ patients through the Eskenazi Health Center of Hope, a program established in 1996 dedicated to caring for victims of sexual assault and family violence. As a match to the grant-funded positions, Eskenazi Health hired a nurse practitioner for the Gender Health Program who developed screening tools to ensure every patient is screened for past experiences of victimization and refers consenting patients to the victim advocates.

LGBTQ+ patients who have experienced past issues of victimization or assault can choose to meet with a victim advocate who can help them by listening to how past experiences have impacted them and connect them with resources, if desired, that will help them take the next steps in their healing journeys. Examples of referrals and resources provided by victim advocates include mental health counseling, support groups, housing, legal, health care, crisis intervention and social services. Victim advocates also provide in-house training for other providers on how to better provide culturally competent care to the LGBTQ+ patient population.

Since victim advocate services began in 2021, 257 unique LGBTQ+ patients have been served and nearly 500 total services have been provided. Patients have received more than 400 resources and referrals to more than 200 different organizations, programs or providers. Eskenazi Health has also increased its total number of LGBTQ+ clients receiving victim services under the grant from 70 in 2020 to 443 in 2021 with the addition of the two gender health advocates.

To learn more about the award and Eskenazi Health’s victim advocacy initiative, please click here.

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