We are very excited to share some updates at HFJ. On prior updates we have listed many ways we have helped various patients, but for this update we have a more specific story to share. Ryan, a survivor of human trafficking, is not only one of our patients, but is also a member of our board of directors. He has both given us permission to share his story and provided us with valuable insight regarding how to best care for victims and survivors of human trafficking. Please take some time to read Ryan’s story here.
Additionally, we have been working hard to launch a new program for our patients. Over the last forty years there has been significant advancement in medical knowledge of the pathophysiology and therapy for trauma. Psychological trauma, once thought to be merely a risk factor for mental health disorders, is now known to not only cause abnormal neurological responses but also persistently elevated levels of stress hormones all leading to increased risks for cardiovascular and other physical disease. On a more functional level, one’s nervous system becomes re-wired; instead of being able to rest, all too often non-threatening stimuli will trigger the ‘fight-or-flight’ response causing irrational fear, anxiety, panic, etc. And the opposite can be true; when a dangerous situation arises, the typical ‘fight-or-flight’ response is subdued and the opposite (paralysis or apathy) can and often does occur.
More recently, physicians world-wide are learning that due to the complexity of psychological trauma medications are not a cure. While they can be a bridge to the right path for healing, the most effective approach in healing from trauma is a combination of interventions that help the nervous system to fix the ‘wiring problem’ over time. Nothing is 100% as of yet, but studies of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, yoga, trauma-sensitive play (especially in children) and/or martial arts, neurofeedback therapy, and various other modalities have shown great benefit.
At HFJ we are working to develop a patient-centered trauma healing program. Aside from free access to our MD and NP, we have partnered with a local certified nurse midwife/women’s health nurse practitioner who is also a yoga expert to provide trauma-sensitive yoga classes. Feel free, no matter if you are a patient of ours or not, to watch and/or utilize her yoga class right here on our site. We also are actively raising money specifically to be able to send our patients with no insurance coverage to EMDR certified therapists!
All this innovation and expansion comes with an additional cost, so to conclude, we want to invite you to join us in our fundraising campaign for 2020-2021. We plan for this campaign to include an evening of music from the privacy of one’s own home this December and an inaugural virtual fundraising gala this coming spring 2021. The funds raised from these events will not only assist in meeting our ongoing expenses that are directly associated with the medical care that is being provided, but also allow for the expansion in our trauma recovery program as explained above. So be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks for an invitation to our first event featuring the amazing professional guitarist, Gary Lee. We hope to see you there, virtually of course!
With many thanks,
Anthony Walls, MD
Emily Walls, FNP
Jill Board, CEO
PS If you want to sign up to receive these quarterly updates to your email, you can easily do so on our home page!