Cathy Miller, PhD, professor of nursing at the University of Texas at Tyler, presented her research on human trafficking to the World Health Organization at the United Nations in New York. Professor UT Tyler is part of a team leading the United Nations’ global strategic campaigners to end human trafficking. GSO aims to provide education on human trafficking and help develop policies and procedures to guide health care providers and hospital personnel in providing trauma-informed care and appropriate referral for victims of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is recognized as a global pandemic with tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of people being victims every day,” Miller said. We will never know the true extent of the problem due to the hidden nature of the crime. Evidence shows that most of the world’s victims of human trafficking are among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, never identified and, therefore, never receiving the health care and other forms of post-care support they need through health care provider referrals.”
After two four-year studies with five of the largest health care systems in the United States and five international health care systems in Italy, Nigeria, Ethiopia and India, Miller and colleagues developed a framework to guide the development of internationally adaptable and adoptable health care policies and procedures. The proposed framework of action, submitted to WHO for consideration, will outline how to identify, define and implement a trauma-informed, survivor-informed, person-centred, and culturally appropriate response to trafficked persons seeking health care. Currently, there is no globally customizable response procedure framework to guide health care providers’ response when a trafficking victim seeks medical care, Miller said.
UT Tyler Honors and junior nursing students Andrea Reyes of Mesquite and Kevin Larios of Houston also joined Miller to present at the United Nations as part of the Honors curriculum.
“We are proud of Dr. Cathy Miller and the work she does to highlight human trafficking and to help improve health care on a global scale,” said UT Tyler President Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, FACP. An estimated 40.3 million people are enslaved through trafficking in more than 167 countries. GSO reported evidence that 88% to 92% of survivors sought medical care while being trafficked. Miller added that evidence has also shown that health care providers may be the only professionals who interact with enslaved individuals while they are under the control of their traffickers.
Miller is Director of Research and Scholarships at GSO and Principal Investigator for Domestic and International Studies.
Miller joined the faculty at UT Tyler in 2018. She has more than 25 years of experience as a registered nurse in the emergency department, intensive care unit, and trauma. She has worked with anti-trafficking organizations for over 12 years and cared for victims and survivors in the clinical setting for over 20 years. As founder and president of Miller Health Care Consulting, she serves as a subject matter expert for several law firms, the US Attorney’s Office – Southern Texas, and the Rusk County District Attorney’s Office.
Miller also serves as a consultant and trainer for the SOAR program of the National Anti-Trafficking Center of the US Office of Combating Trafficking in Persons. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the Task Force on Human Trafficking in the Coastal Texas Frontier District and an invited member of the North Texas Academic Collaborative Against Trafficking, Evidence-Based Results and Improvement for the Texas Child Trafficking Task Force.
With a mission to improve educational and healthcare outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to 10,000 students. UT Tyler was recently merged with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (now UT Tyler Health Science Center). Aligning with UT Tyler Health Science Center (HSC) and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has united these entities to serve Texas by providing high-quality education, cutting-edge research, and excellent patient care. Designated by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by US News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine, and Houston.
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