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December 4, 2015
‘Confronting Violence, Improving Women’s Lives’ Opens at NLM

The National Library of Medicine recently opened a display, Confronting Violence, Improving Women’s Lives, which is open to the public in the History of Medicine Division in Bldg. 38 until Aug. 19, 2016. The display is also the subject of a companion web site and traveling banner display.

The display details the history of nursing in relation to domestic violence and related research. Activists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered. During the late 20th century, nurses took up the call. They worked to reform a medical profession that failed to acknowledge violence against women as a serious health issue. Beginning in the late 1970s, nurses were in the vanguard as they pushed the larger medical community to identify victims, adequately respond to their needs and work toward the prevention of domestic violence. Confronting Violence was developed by the Exhibition Program at NLM and guest curated by Dr. Catherine Jacquet, an assistant professor of history and women’s and gender studies at Louisiana State University.

On hand at the opening of the new NLM display were (from l) Betsy Humphreys, acting NLM director, and nurses Dr. Barbara Parker, Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Dr. Doris Campbell and Dr. Daniel Sheridan, along with exhibition curator Dr. Catherine Jacquet, ABC 7’s Kimberly Suiters and Patricia Tuohy, head of NLM’s Exhibition Program.
On hand at the opening of the new NLM display were (from l) Betsy Humphreys, acting NLM director, and nurses Dr. Barbara Parker, Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Dr. Doris Campbell and Dr. Daniel Sheridan, along with exhibition curator Dr. Catherine Jacquet, ABC 7’s Kimberly Suiters and Patricia Tuohy, head of NLM’s Exhibition Program.

PHOTO: LISA HELFERT

Kimberly Suiters from ABC 7/WJLA-TV emceed the opening event. Acting NLM Director Betsy Humphreys welcomed attendees and acknowledged the accomplishments of the nurses HELFERThighlighted in the exhibition. “You don’t solve a problem by turning your head aside and ignoring it,” she said. “We’re very lucky to have people here today who didn’t turn their heads aside and actually went to work on an important problem.”

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and one of the early pioneers in domestic violence nursing, was the first nurse to speak. She lauded the work NIH has done in supporting domestic violence research and noted the increasing success in outcomes of connecting battered women with the help they need. She remarked on new inquiries into traumatic brain injury and HIV prevalence and their connections to domestic violence, noting, “There are many new frontiers to get to.”

Jacquet addressed the history and development of domestic violence nursing. She highlighted the unique role nurses played in health care and concluded with a call to action, noting that “any of us can make change” happen.

The full program can be viewed at http://videocast.nih.gov/Summary.asp?File=19163&bhcp=1.—Dan Caughey

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