Media contacts:
Alicia Sands Lurry, 404-616-6389,

October 1, 2003


Emory Emergency Medicine Physician Brings Awareness to Domestic Violence With Host of Activities During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

ATLANTA – The facts are startling: According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, there were more than 47,000 cases of domestic violence reported in the state of Georgia in 2001. Of those cases, 20 percent involved children, and an additional 42 percent of the incidents were committed in the presence of children. Sixty-six of those reported cases resulted in fatal injuries.

In 2001, 116 cases of domestic violence were reported at Grady Memorial Hospitalís Emergency Care Center.

With those statistics in mind, Sheryl Heron, MD, MPH, associate professor and associate residency director of emergency medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, hopes to bring more attention to the issue of domestic violence during the month of October, which commemorates Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The month marks several key events that Dr. Heron is spearheading, including a lecture with co-faculty member Deborah Houry, MD, also an expert on domestic violence, on Oct. 7 for Emory emergency medicine residents on "Domestic Violence: The Medical Response".

She is also spearheading the word commemorating the October 8th national "Health Cares About Domestic Violence Day." Sponsored by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, HCADV Day aims to reach members of the healthcare community and educate them about the critical importance of screening for domestic violence, as well as the long term health implications of domestic violence and lifetime exposure to violence.

Dr. Heron is also working with church leaders at Antioch Baptist Church North to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month on October 7th, as well as further educating the congregation on how the faith community can be part of the community-coordinated response to domestic violence.

On October 16, a candlelight march and vigil will be held at the Decatur Square in downtown Decatur. It is being sponsored by the Decatur-based Womenís Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, of which Dr. Heron is a board member and has invited her medical colleagues to march with her in support of this event.

Dr. Heron said it is particularly important for the medical community and community-at-large to be concerned about the devastating impact of domestic violence.

"Domestic violence is the number one cause of injury for women," said Dr. Heron, who practices at Grady Hospital and devotes much of her medical research to domestic violence. "It affects all persons involved, including children. But, itís a preventable problem. If we bring awareness to the issue, we can respond to it, and thatís just the right thing to do, because everyone is entitled to live in a safe and violence-free home."

As part of her research involving domestic violence, Dr. Heron recently received a grant from the Emory medical school to use standardized patients, or locally-trained actors, as a tool for teaching medical students about family violence within a family violence curriculum. The grant will be used to strengthen the attitudes, knowledge and skills of those caring for patients who present with issues of domestic violence.

For more information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, or to participate in any of the aforementioned activities, please call (404) 616-0714, or email Dr. Heron at

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