The SAFEchild Advocacy Center Medical Team was among the health care leaders honored at the 2013 Triangle Business Journal Health Care Heroes Awards dinner March 21 at the Renaissance Hotel in North Hills.
Led by Betty Witman, MD, Medical Director, the team includes Holly Warner, FNP, David Adams, MD, and Dr. Ben Alexander, MD. Each member is affiliated with WakeMed. All are rostered North Carolina Child Abuse Medical Evaluators and provide medical examinations for children served at the SAFEchild Advocacy Center.
“NO matter how much a child has been physically harmed, or their emotional spirit broken, our Medical Team can re-direct a child’s path,” said Cristin DeRonja, SAFEchild Advocacy Center Director, who nominated the team. “It is impossible to avoid being motivated, energized, and mobilized to make a positive difference for the children who need our protection when you look at permanent scars from wounds intentionally inflicted by a caregiver or when you witness a child shiver in response to a caring human’s healing touch. It is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience to provide care for children who are in the midst of a deeply personal and tragic experience.”
Nearly 600 children have received intervention and treatment since the SAFEchild Advocacy Center opened on Nov. 1, 2010. The medical exam, just one piece of the services received at the advocacy center, assesses a child’s safety and well-being, and includes a thorough review of medical, developmental, educational and psychosocial history.
“Our medical team considers it a privilege, not a job, to care for children who have been victims of child abuse,” added Cristin DeRonja. “They all deliberately chose medicine as a career due to family legacies of health care providers and a passion for helping others. The child maltreatment field, however, discovered our team. Child abuse finds you no matter what role you fulfill in pediatric medicine. Our medical team was called to do more than simply recognize child abuse. They were called to move beyond recognition and wade in deeper more turbulent waters of diagnosis and treatment. They were called to help shoulder the burdens of children’s abuse experiences. They were called to feel the helplessness when there is not a simple script that can be written that will result in expedient healing and recovery. Our medical team is proof that a small group of people can and do make a difference even when our patients’ road to recovery is difficult and uncertain.”