The EMPOWER Model
The EMPOWER model uses a sensitive and culturally competent approach to meet the physical, gynecological and psychological needs of survivors of sex trafficking and sexual violence. Our team of healthcare providers have extensive experience working with conflict-affected women and vulnerable populations. We work to ensure that our patients have access to a compassionate and sensitive provider who is able to explore her medical needs through careful and respectful examination.
At initial visits, patients may be offered the option of reserving the physical and/or pelvic exam for a subsequent visit in order to first establish trust in the provider. Moreover, the length of the visit is determined by the patient's own pace and needs, about 40-60 minutes compared to a routine gynecologic visit which takes about 20 minutes. Survivors are also offered the opportunity to discuss their traumatic experiences, and are allowed to share or withhold any aspect of their experience that they prefer, establishing a level of trust, compassion, and transparency between our patients and providers, that is often lacking at other women’s health clinics.
A unique aspect of the EMPOWER model is the inclusion of psychiatric services. During survivors' first appointment with the obstetrician-gynecologist, they are offered an appointment with a psychiatrist who will evaluate them and, if necessary, create an individualized treatment plan. This allows our clinic to further support our patients who have experienced trauma, not only through compassionate physical exams, but through psychiatric care as well.