Researcher seeks improved assessment for domestic violence programs

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A new UNC HPDP Research Fellow is working to develop a new way to measure hospital-based domestic violence programs through a grant funded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development.

Dr. Sohini Sengupta will be conducting her research with UNC Hospital’s Beacon Child and Family program, which coordinates medical, psychological and counseling services to domestic violence victims. While UNC Hospitals has gained national recognition for the uniqueness of Beacon’s comprehensive program, the program has not been formally evaluated.

Sengupta’s study will help to create a new tool to evaluate the Beacon Program and others like it by modifying an existing instrument used in hospital-based domestic violence programs.

“Domestic violence prevention is an area of study that is new for me, but also an area that I have been trying to pursue for some time,” said Sengupta, an assistant professor in the department of social medicine at the UNC School of Medicine whose previous work has been in HIV/AIDS. “UNC is fortunate to have a hospital-based domestic violence program. The Beacon staff and faculty have been gracious to offer their program as a model to use to develop evaluation tools.”

The Delphi Instrument for Domestic Violence for Hospital Programs measures structure and processes of domestic violence programs, but does not measure outcomes from the programs.  Some of the aspects Delphi measures include the training of health care providers, the establishment task force teams, and specific policies and procedures for domestic violence cases.

Sengupta will ask a Consensus Panel of UNC Hospitals Administrators, Beacon staff, physicians/residents, and nurses/physician assistants to review the Delphi instrument. The panel’s goal will be to create a shorter and modified version of the Delphi tool that evaluates the structure and process indicators of hospital-based domestic violence programs nationwide.

The Consensus Panel also will participate in focus groups to brainstorm and identify outcomes related to domestic violence identification and management that they would like to see measured in hospital-based domestic violence programs.

Findings from this study will contribute to  the development of reliable and valid tools for measuring structure, process, and outcomes of hospital-based domestic violence programs.  Future research will apply these tools to the evaluation of  hospital-based DV programs nationally.  

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