Tag Archives: intimate partner violence

Intimate Partner Violence: An Educational Priority

By Katherine Bakke, BA, Halley P. Crissman, BSc, MPH, Vijay Singh, MD, MPH, MS, and Arno K. Kumagai, MD, University of Michigan

Given their primary responsibility for the health and safety of their patients, physicians are the natural candidates to champion efforts to end intimate partner violence (IPV).1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three women and one in four men report lifetime physical assault by an intimate partner, and IPV represents a leading cause of morbidity and mortality of women in this country.2 Medical education stands to play a key role in this area; however, with recent changes in the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) standards, the next generation of physicians may be even less likely to initiate conversations about IPV with their patients.

The LCME, which accredits all US and Canadian medical schools based on compliance with specific educational standards, recently announced reformatted standards that will come into effect after July 2015.3 Although perhaps not intended, the changes include a small but significant omission. In contrast to previous versions,4 the 2015 standards dropped violence and abuse as an example of a societal problem that should be covered in medical school curricula.5 While this omission may seem trivial, it is potentially of great consequence, for the risk of not educating medical students how to screen for, and assist survivors of, interpersonal violence threatens to perpetuate IPV as a significant, and more importantly preventable, cause of injury and death among women.

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