By Bridget M. Kuehn, JAMA Network, January 29, 2020
For many sexual assault survivors whom Anita Ravi, MD, MPH, sees as a New York City–based family physician, the prospect of even basic medical care can be frightening. Some have put off Papanicolaou tests and mammograms for years or even decades.
To help them, Ravi has adopted a trauma-informed approach that works to restore patients’ trust and give them a greater sense of control over their visit. This may include asking permission before touching and suggesting alternatives to certain procedures that make them uncomfortable. For example, she may offer patients who require a throat or vaginal swab the option of doing it themselves.
“It’s essential to give people the opportunity to know all the steps that are going to happen and say, ‘If that doesn’t work for you, we can try this other way,’” said Ravi, an assistant professor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.