Dr. Bharti Khurana working to eliminate intimate partner violence

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Indian American Dr. Bharti Khurana of Boston, Massachusetts wants to eliminate intimate partner violence (IPV).

Dr. Bharti Khurana is an Indian American radiologist working in the Emergency Room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and is also an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

With more than 20 years of experience, she is currently one of the three finalists at the hospital’s competition called BRIght Futures, which welcomes project ideas geared toward solving difficult medical problems.

Through machine-learning, Dr. Khurana is focusing on eliminating intimate partner violence (IPV), a form of domestic violence that includes physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse from a current or former intimate partner to another.

“One in four women and one in seven men in the U.S., fall victim to IPV every year but a majority of these cases go unknown. Therefore, we want to create tools to empower physicians to identify and help patients who are experiencing IPV. To do so, we plan to use clinical and radiological data from known IPV cases and teach a computer program to learn the signs of IPV,” Dr. Khurana states in her video proposal.

In her project titled “Making the Invisible Visible: Bringing Intimate Partner Violence into Focus,” Dr. Khurana said that her “goal is to develop a system that automatically alerts clinicians if a patient’s injuries match a pattern of IPV. In addition, our multidisciplinary team will design guides to train social workers and clinicians on how to approach IPV patients.”

The idea came to Dr. Khurana while she was giving a presentation in 2016, during which one nurse practitioner asked her a question about domestic violence.

“That is when I realized that I had been seeing the signs of domestic violence in the X-Rays that were taken, but always ignored them. Though we have been recording the data for many years now, we have to be careful in reporting it. By law, we are required to report abuse in children but for adults, it is different,” Dr. Khurana said in a phone interview, to Desi Talk.

Dr. Khurana also mentioned that when patients come in, they are asked to answer questions about domestic violence on the form given, but most choose not to.

“Some are scared to accept it because their partner may be with them or they think it is a once in a while occurrence,” she said, noting that other women say that it is a part of their customs and norms even though it is a human rights violation.

Dr. Khurana is hoping that her project “will have a big impact on all of the patients who are uncomfortable with reporting” their experience with IPV as many children also observe it and become silent victims.

So far, she has gathered information from 800 patients and is looking for more.

With need for funding, Dr. Khurana is eager to win this competition so she can get the $100,000 prize to further her project and help break the silence on IPV.

To vote for Dr. Khurana visit: https://briihub.polldaddy.com/s/brightfutures2018

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