The C.A.R.E. Clinic (Coordinated Approach to Resilience and Empowerment) was founded by Dr. Annie Lewis-O’Connor in 2011. The clinic uses a trauma-informed and patient-centered framework to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking. Patient advisors also help to develop and inform policy and procedures for the clinic.
As a clinic, we understand that trauma is intersectional. It affects every part of us – our brain, our health, our emotions, our ability to cope, our moods, and our social connections. But we believe that if we work together, everyone can access healthcare and find the hope and healing they seek.
At the C.A.R.E. Clinic, we partner with survivors. Our team helps survivors understand their options and make the choices that are right for them. We coordinate with other providers to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that nothing falls through the cracks. Our team knows what community resources are available and works with advocates to provide acute and long-term medical, emotional, and legal support.
The goals of the C.A.R.E. Clinic are as follows: (1) promote a partnership with patients; (2) facilitate engagement in services; (3) address physical and behavioral health needs; and (4) improve health outcomes for survivors of individual, interpersonal and collective trauma.
Founder and Director, C.A.R.E. Clinic
Dr. Lewis-O’Connor is a board-certified pediatric and ob-gyn Nurse Practitioner and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. In addition to her role as a nurse, she has a research appointment in the Division of Women’s Health (Medicine) as an Associate Scientist and a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School. In addition, she is the Chair of the National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse and the Principal Investigator on a National Institute of Justice Grant that focuses on Domestic Violence Homicide and Risk Reduction. She is well published in peer-reviewed journals and academic books on the topic of violence against women and children, and her work in the area has extended to Haiti, China and Taiwan. She has previously been faculty at the Center for Clinical and Global Health Education at John Hopkins University, teaching a global online course on violence against women. In 2012, she was recognized by the Boston Business Journal as a Champion in Health Care. She holds an MSN from Simmons College, an MPH from Boston University, and a PhD from Boston College.
In her work as a nurse, Dr. Lewis-O’Connor noticed that survivors were often triggered and re-traumatized when seeking care after their assault. Something as routine as asking a patient to change out of their clothes and into a hospital gown made them feel vulnerable and caused anxiety. The simple act of being alone in a room with a physician provoked feelings of being trapped and powerless. When they needed to navigate multiple medical specialties, it was just too overwhelming. So she created another way.
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