AMWA's Physicians Against Trafficking of Humans
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PATH's webpage features an introduction to human trafficking and healthcare, click here to watch informative videos and learn more from the site.

Interested in learning more about PATH leadership and involvement? Here are some ideas of how to get started with our welcome packet.


Article and Photo by Alyssa Davis

Students at SUSTAIN Chicago
PATH held their 2nd SUSTAIN training on September 30th in Chicago, IL at Northwestern University Medical School. 23 nursing and medical students and physicians from 5 medical institutions across 3 states participated in the training. AMWA physicians, Dr. Julia Geynisman and Dr. Kanani Titchen, presented about how sex trafficking happens, who is at risk, and how to recognize it in healthcare settings.

There was rich group discussion of issues regarding what healthcare professionals can. In a post-training survey, participants cited the open discussion, sharing of personal stories, and discussion of trafficking laws most beneficial.

Chicago community partners from STOP-IT, the Salvation Army and Community Services, and Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services provided local resources and highlighted the scope of the problem in Chicago.

After lunch, participants had the opportunity to create their own presentation about trafficking, present to the group, and receive real-time feedback in a low-pressure setting. Overall, participants left the training feeling energized, passionate, and ready to share their learning with colleagues. The next SUSTAIN training will be on January 20th in Philadelphia, PA at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, with CME credit available.

Coming to a City Near You
After a very successful first 2 events in New York City and Chicago, the SUSTAIN series is expanding to several cities around the United States. See below for dates and locations for 2017-2018.

    Philadelphia, PA: Jan. 20th, 2018
    Honolulu, HI: Feb. 10th 2018
    Philadelphia, PA: Mar 25, 2018
    Houston, TX: Spring 2018 TBD

If you are interested in attending any of these SUSTAIN events, please e-mail Michelle Lyman at for more information on registration and travel scholarships.

About the Newsletter
This is a monthly series in research and advocacy news summaries created by the PATH residents and medical students. Newsletters will feature brief breakdowns on recent scholarly publications and policy changes as well as highlighting PATH member efforts and upcoming events.

We want to share your success!
E-mail your projects and events to the editors to be featured in upcoming newsletters

Physician Chair Highlights
Written by Alexandra (Sasha) Shumyatsky

Dr. Julia Geynisman-Tan is a fellow in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois, her medical degree at the University of Michigan, and her residency at Weill Cornell in New York City. After medical school, while researching health policy in Israel, she stumbled upon the issue of international sex trafficking when a friend asked her to help translate stories of Russian women who had been trafficked in Israel. she spent some time in Israel working with trafficking victims.

During her residency in New York, she received funding to open the Survivor Clinic- a medical home for trafficking survivors. Now, Dr. Geynisman-Tan is in Chicago for her fellowship and has been working on starting a similar clinic called the “ERASE clinic.”

Dr. Geynisman-Tan joined Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans (PATH) in the last year and has several goals she would like to accomplish through PATH. She believes that every healthcare provider should have human trafficking at the top of their differential when they see a woman in an emotional or physical crisis.

While “red flags” are critical for identifying a trafficking victim, Dr. Geynisman-Tan believes that the most reliable sign is an “inner feeling” that makes you as the care-provider feel nervous, agitated or anxious, that is likely because the patient feels those emotions. Patients who feel anxious or helpless may try to counter those emotions by acting indifferent, angry, or hostile towards the health care provider. Although our initial instinct may be to pull away from a difficult patient, Dr. Geynisman-Tan suggests that this initial instinct should be overcome and instead, this patient should be given special attention because she may be a victim of trafficking.

When Dr. Geynisman-Tan has received a referral for a survivor of sex trafficking, she tries to establish a long-term relationship by focusing on what they perceive to be their most important and immediate needs. If their healthcare needs are not gynecologic, she often refers the patient to different providers who are more equipped to help the patient but are trauma-informed and knowledgeable about trafficking. She believes it is also very helpful for the victim to hear the same message from multiple providers; it reinforces the significance and creates a circle of trust.

Dr. Geynisman-Tan also believes that our society puts more emphasis on teaching young girls about sex trafficking and not enough emphasis on leading boys and men away from glorification of female exploitation. Education of men is essential in order to diminish the amount of pimps and Johns because “there would not be a supply of trafficked women, if there was no demand.” So for medical students who are interested in becoming advocates, it can be helpful to focus on this part of trafficking that is often not fulfilled.

PATH Spotlight: Your Chance to Welcome New PATH Physician Chairs
AMWA PATH would like to shine a spotlight on our two newest physician chairs, such as the interview featured above. We are calling for student members interested in an opportunity to interview  Dr. Mollie Gordon, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine.

Please e-mail Michelle Lyman at if you would like to interview and write a spotlight piece on Dr. Gordon.
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