UCSF’s Women’s HIV Program, a program of CTHC, has provided sensitive, effective healthcare to women and girls living with HIV for over 20 years. WHP is now among the nation’s foremost researchers and health policy leaders, advocating for a transformation of our healthcare system to one that is trauma-informed.
Our experience and research have shown that the key to making our patients strong again is to treat not only their medical needs, but to also effectively address trauma – which is incredibly common among our patients and has a dramatic impact on their health and lives. To us, HIV is symptom of a far larger problem – violence against women and girls. Our model of trauma-informed care helps women heal from and prevent trauma as a core part of their primary medical care.
Our research has provided the foundation for a movement towards trauma-informed primary care. We have published studies documenting staggeringly high rates of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women living with HIV, the negative impacts of trauma on health and well-being, and the efficacy of pragmatic interventions to help women heal from trauma and prevent further abuse. Our team now affects health policy among national foundations and at the highest level of government. WHP was recently selected to be one of six national demonstration sites for trauma-informed primary care. WHP co-led the National Strategy Group on Trauma-informed Primary Care and is now working in partnership with the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and other major national foundations to develop and disseminate this model broadly throughout the country.
The WHP clinical team is committed, compassionate, and competent. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers collaborate to create the best care plan for each patient. Our extended team includes the world-class medical resources of UCSF and a cadre of community partners. With incredibly efficient use of a very small budget, and a model of care based on evidence of what is actually effective, a caring community converges; lives are saved; dignity is restored; families are preserved; and valuable lessons about healthcare innovation are learned.