2023 SAEMF/AWAEM Research Grant - $5,000

"Health Disparities of Trafficked Children Presenting to Emergency Departments"

This study focuses on an extremely vulnerable and often overlooked subset of the acutely ill and injured child: trafficked children presenting to pediatric emergency departments (EDs). Across the United States, children of all ages are affected by human trafficking, and frequently access emergency healthcare services, often due to a lack of a medical home. While trafficked children present to EDs for a wide range of medical problems, this population regularly presents for acute illnesses and injuries, including traumatic injuries occurring from physical and sexual violence, infections, exacerbations of chronic diseases, and mental health emergencies. Most existing research has focused on the screening and identification of trafficked children in the healthcare setting. Experts in the field have recently called for expanded initiatives that work towards eliminating health disparities for this population, including the provision of comprehensive resources and services for trafficked patients presenting to EDs. In alignment with AWAEM core ideology, this project will lead to a better understanding of how demographics, including gender, impact disparities in emergency care for trafficked youth.


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    Preeti Panda, MD

    Stanford University

    "Health Disparities of Trafficked Children Presenting to Emergency Departments"

    Dr. Panda is a pediatric emergency medicine fellow and pediatric global health subspecialty fellow at Stanford University. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University in Nutrition and Global Health. She went on to earn an MD, with distinction in advocacy, from Albany Medical College. Dr. Panda completed her pediatric residency training at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital/Case Western Reserve University, where she earned specialized certificates in child advocacy and research. She is currently earning a Master of Science in Health Policy at Stanford University, which she will complete over the course of her fellowship.

    Dr. Panda has worked with trafficked youth for over 10 years, with involvement in direct clinical care, research, legislative advocacy, and education. Her research currently focuses on identifying disparities in the delivery and access of emergency care for trafficked children, and the development of emergency department-based interventions to support at-risk youth. During pediatric residency, Dr. Panda co-founded the Haven Clinic, a medical home that provides trauma-informed medical care to survivors of child trafficking. Dr. Panda has received awards both locally and nationally for her work, including recent recognition by the Boston Congress of Public Health as a 40 Under 40 Public Health Catalyst awardee.