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Empowering Clinician-in-Training to Address Domestic Violence – UI Health

Updated: 02/01/23

All students that have completed M2 year.

During this 2 week elective, up to four 3rd year medical students will participate in a multidisciplinary domestic violence course. Students will learn the skills necessary for advocacy, screening and long term provision of care as they assist a client suffering domestic violence. During the week, students will engage in interactive, case-based discussions, practice screening in a clinic setting, work with DV advocates, law enforcement officers and legal service providers to gain a comprehensive understanding of effective patient therapies and rights. Students will re-learn the definition of DV, the cycle of violence, become aware of the validated screening tools, safety assessment and harm reduction, mandatory reporting and management. The students will be encouraged to journal throughout the week and complete short daily questionnaires to self-assess their learning throughout the week. Pre and post evaluations along with pre and post tests will be administered.


  1. Domestic Violence Agency Objectives
    • Shadow DV advocates and practice screening for DV in a clinic setting
    • Have a close up experience of the complex dynamic a DV survivors goes through
    • Learn various ways DV shelters and agencies can help DV survivors and their families
    • Be exposed to effective patient therapies
  2. Law Enforcement Objectives
    • Gain a comprehensive understanding of patients’ rights
    • Review how and when to ask it is safe and appropriate to reach out for law enforcement support
    • Observe ways Law Enforcement is involved on DV cases
  3. Legal Services Objectives
    • Review the different options documented and undocumented DV survivors have when pursuing divorce and child custody cases
    • Become aware of community resources patients can be referred for legal service advice
  4. Saint Pious Church Session Objectives
    • Observe how spiritual leaders in the Chicago Community are assisting individuals and families affected by DV
    • Assist in the connection of DV survivors to other community resources, especially healthcare

By the end of this 2 week experience, you will be better able to:

Discuss the definition of Domestic Violence(DV)

  1. Practice Establishing Rapport and Perform Compassionate Screening
  2. State the risk factors for becoming victimized or perpetrating DV
  3. Recognize the common diseases and conditions associated with DV
  4. State current Medical Provider Responsibilities and Obligations: (Illinois Statute and Illinois Domestic Violence Act
  5. Perform a Basic Safety Assessment and Safety Planning Counseling
  6. Identify when you are a Mandated Reporter
  7. Discuss an algorithm for managing persons in Acute and Chronic DV
  8. Identify and Explain what DV resources exist for Patient

Readings will be given and assigned prior to the first day of class.

Morning of Day 1: Students will have an introductory lecture on DV background, impact on overall health, various symptoms it manifests, length of recovery, as well as, existing outreach resources, and interviewing techniques. There will be a movie and or a demonstration about how to sensitively interview as well as recognize the DV signs on a patient during a regular check-up visit.

Afternoon of Day 1: Students will have time to read assigned documents and navigate assigned websites

Morning of Day 2: Speakers will be invited to speak to students about how DV affects special populations such as LGTB, immigrants, patients with disabilities, among others. Students will also learn how to practice some self-care, so they can stay healthy for their families and patients.

Afternoon of Day 2: Group session, readings, Q&A and journaling

Morning and Afternoon of Day 3: Students, either individually or in pairs, will be split to shadow either a DV provider or counselor at a DV shelter. Students will learn screening methods, safety planning, and care management of DV patients as well as be able to observe and practice interviewing techniques under supervision. At the shelter, students will shadow a DV counselor and learn about advocacy and social services.            

Morning and Afternoon of Day 4:  Students will swap sites, either a DV provider or counselor at a DV shelter

Morning of Day 5: Students will attend a session with the Law Enforcement, where they will gain a comprehensive understanding of patients’ rights, learn how and when to ask it is safe and appropriate to reach out for law enforcement support, and learn in what ways the law enforcement is involved on DV cases

Afternoon of Day 5: Students will come for a debriefing, Q&A, and feedback session.

Note: Students will receive some questionnaires for them to assess their learning throughout the week and will receive feedback at the end of the week.

Morning of Day 6: Legal Services session. Students will learn about order of protection, immigration, custody rights, VAWA, and U-visa

Afternoon of Day 6: Survivor panel plus Q&A

Morning and Afternoon of Day 7 and 8: Students will return to the DV provider and counselor at a DV shelter to further practice interviewing techniques and get feedback

Morning of Day 9: Group session, readings, Q&A and journaling

Afternoon of Day 9: Session with Saint Pious Church coordinator and possible visit to their group sessions

Morning of Day 10: Group session, readings and Q&A

Afternoon of Day 10: Ending of the elective with students’ presentation of their personal reflections. Dinner provided if allowed.


  • Students will take a pre and post elective survey which will assess their competency in IPV screening and management.
  • Students will each be given formative feedback by the course director(s) at the end of the first week and a Pass/Fail summative grade at the end of the course

Administrative Information Heading link

  • Program Number

    ELEC 292

  • Program Contacts

    Elective Director:  Sonia Oyola, MD

  • Program Information

    Duration of Elective: 2 Weeks
    Night Call: None
    Weekends: None
    # of Students Accepted: _1__Min _4__Max
    House staff Used as Faculty:

    Number of hours per week: 40 hrs
    Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact
    Laboratory: 12 hrs (3 classes of 4hrs each)

    Independent Study: 8 hrs
    Outpatient: 20 hrs (2.5 of Clinic visits)
    Total Hours /Week:40