St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine are committed to serving the mental, physical and emotional needs of our community. The Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine is active in local, regional and national efforts to address child safety and injury prevention. Our faculty and fellows have been instrumental in initiating efforts within our ED to screen mothers of young infants for postpartum depression and provide resources, support and urgent psychiatric care when needed. Our division also has implemented ED screening and educational programs to promote safe sleep as well as car, pool and bike safety.
With our unique experience and expertise in childhood penetrating trauma, our faculty and fellows are at the forefront of novel efforts to address the gun violence pandemic. Due to the frequency of penetrating trauma we treat, our faculty and fellows are looked to by the community as experts in the field, giving us a unique platform to do community outreach, education of lay persons and lawmakers (including visits to the capital), and continue to strive for universal gun safety screening in every hospital in the region. From working with our institution’s Victims of Violence outreach program, to screening for gun safety within the home and providing gun locks, teaching “Stop the Bleed” courses in the community, to researching social determinants and outcomes of childhood trauma victims, our division is committed to improving the safety of our community’s children.
Our division has also dedicated significant resources to improving the care of our adolescent patients. The SLCH ED sees 500 adolescents a month, many from urban St. Louis or the surrounding areas. St. Louis has consistently been in the top five cities in the country for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections over the past several years.
Given that adolescents often use the ED for primary care, our ED has piloted several projects, including The Spot) to improve adolescent care in the ED, including a computer-assisted self-interview system to screen for STIs for all adolescents, regardless of presenting complaint. The system integrates with our EMR in real-time, messaging the treating physician if an adolescent has a high-risk screen and/or requests STI testing. A similar computer-assisted interview educates adolescents about safer sex practices and allows adolescents to request initiation of a variety of contraceptive methods in the ED, including Nexplanon, OCPs and Depo-Provera injections. The ED partners with an outpatient walk-in clinic for teens and young adults offering free medical and social services. Goals may range from getting back in school and starting contraception, to addressing a mental illness or seeking care for HIV.
Finally, Washington University School of Medicine is committed to educating and training physicians and staff to recognize and address the significant racial inequities and health disparities that plague our communities. The Division of Emergency Medicine is in complete support of all opportunities to make our fellows, faculty and staff members more aware of racial injustice and providing opportunities to advocate for our patients. Our fellows and faculty participated in the #whitecoatsforblacklives protests on the medical campus, as well as others within our own communities with the full support of our leadership.
Furthermore, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the School of Medicine offers small group listening sessions, didactics and panelist lead educational conferences to help all faculty, fellows, students, and staff be better educated, recognize unconscious bias and have tools to address inequities in patient care and treatment that we may encounter. Our division strongly encourages participation in these learning sessions so that we as providers may recognize, address and overcome our own biases to serve our communities to the best of our ability and reduce health disparities between races.