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New Look for Walk a Mile Event

March 21, 2019
Sexual assault and domestic violence awareness and advocacy are becoming increasingly more pronounced on a national stage. With more attention on this issue than ever before, GBMC HealthCare wants everyone to know the place to go for expert treatment and resources is right in their own community.

In the fourth year of hosting Walk a Mile in Their Shoes, our signature fundraising event for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) Program at GBMC, co-chairs Fred Chan, MD, and former chair of GBMC's Board of Directors, Bonnie Stein, are looking to take it to the next level. The rebranded Walk a Mile in Their Shoes aims to be an inclusive event that brings awareness to an issue most people have been scared to address – until now.

"We want to have community partnerships with businesses, big and small, that operate in our footprint," Bonnie said. "And we want to be able to help them respond swiftly and appropriately when there is an employee who needs help."

As the only program of its kind in Baltimore and Harford Counties and most of the surrounding areas, GBMC serves a huge catchment area, offering comprehensive care for victims of sexual assault, abuse and domestic violence across the lifespan at no cost to the patient. Sadly, this includes an alarming increase in pediatric cases. In 2018, the SAFE Program saw a total of 382 patients, including approximately 183 SAFE exams. Of those, almost half were pediatric.

But the care extends beyond clinical. In addition to providing forensic exams and domestic violence counseling, the program also provides items to help victims get out of their dangerous situations, such as Get Away Bags and safety phones. The SAFE/DV team also provides outreach to local schools and businesses, as well as, trains GBMC clinical staff to identify and respond appropriately to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The team is out in the field speaking in Annapolis and testifying in court on behalf of victims. In 2018, the SAFE Program had more than 50 subpoenas and active court cases. So far in 2019, there are 20 active court cases scheduled.

Walk a Mile might be a one-day event on GBMC's campus, but involvement will spark a relationship between GBMC and the surrounding community that lets them know whom they can trust for their care.

"It's important for us to communicate and increase awareness of this valuable program for our community, to break down the barriers to treatment, and to help educate and facilitate dialogue if needed with all the patients our organization serves," Dr. Chan said.

GBMC has many services and resources for our community; the SAFE and DV Program is an important one.
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