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Intimate Partner Violence Education for Medical Students: Toward a Comprehensive Curriculum Revision

Pamela D. Connor, PhD, Simonne S. Nouer, MD, PhD, SeéTrail N. Mackey, MCJ, MPA, Megan S. Banet, MA, Nathan G. Tipton, MA
Volume: 105 Issue: 4 April, 2012

Abstract:

Objectives: Previous studies examined the prevalence and efficacy of intimate partner violence (IPV) education in medical school. We documented IPV content exposure shortage in medical school curriculum at a southern university health science center and measured personal IPV experience among medical students.


Methods: Responses were gathered from a 67-item survey adapted from the Physician Readiness to Manage Intimate Partner Violence Survey. Our survey measured IPV knowledge and attitudes, along with sufficiency of IPV education that students received before and during medical school. Three summary scales were created to examine students’ perceived preparedness to deal with IPV survivors and their perceived and actual knowledge about IPV.


Results: Across summary scales, differences were higher but not significant between medical students who received IPV education either before or during medical school and those with no IPV education. Of all of the medical students surveyed, 28.7% (n = 33) had experienced some type of domestic violence including IPV. Gaps in knowledge also were identified.


Conclusions: Student IPV experience (whether directly by way of personal exposure to IPV or indirectly through family members or acquaintances who were victims of IPV) can be applicable in classrooms, clinics, and students’ careers, but it may not necessarily increase perceived or actual IPV knowledge; however, our results show that any IPV education that students receive can be effective in increasing confidence and perceived preparedness to address IPV with patients. Comprehensive approaches to teaching IPV should be integrated fully into medical school curricula.

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