According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, more than 1 in 3 women, and more than 1 in 4 men, in the United States experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Utah State University undergrad researcher Tyson Lumbreras, who has served for more than two years as a mobile crisis advocate for Logan, Utah’s Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse “CAPSA” organization as well as an emergency room volunteer, has witnessed the results of these statistics first-hand.
“Through these experiences, I noticed some physicians are more prepared than others to recognize injuries from intimate partner violence and to address the needs of these victims,” says Lumbreras, a human biology emphasis major, who plans to pursue a medical career. “I began to wonder how medical schools train people to respond to these situations and that formed an idea for my research.”
Lumbreras, an Idaho native who graduated from Preston High School in 2013, is among about 30 Aggies selected to present research to state legislators at 2018 Undergraduate Research Day Feb. 28, on Utah’s Capitol Hill. The annual Salt Lake City event highlights the importance of research in undergraduate education.
With faculty mentor Jessica Lucero, assistant professor in USU’s Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology, Lumbreras devised a survey for medical school curriculum directors of both doctor of medicine (M.D.) and doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) institutions. The undergrad secured a USU Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities (URCO) grant to pursue the project.
The survey revealed little difference in the amount of IPV training between M.D. and D.O. programs.
“Nine out of 10 schools we surveyed offered a course that addresses intimate partner violence,” Lumbreras says. “However, less than five percent of students’ training time within the specified course was allocated to IPV content.”
Most of that training, the researchers found, was conducted in the classroom, with very little training in a real-world, clinical setting.
“More than three-fourths of our respondents admitted medical students aren’t getting enough IPV training,” Lumbreras says. “They report many training needs compete for students’ time.”
Lucero, who studies varied aspects of family violence, says medical professionals are often the first responders to notice signs of IPV and it’s therefore imperative they have thorough training.
“This is a major public health issue,” she says.
Lumbreras, who played football in high school, says his exposure to sports medicine as a teen piqued his interest in medicine.
“As a first-generation college student, I wasn’t sure I had it in me to pursue medical school,” says the recipient of a Seely-Hinckley College of Science Scholarship and a Weston R. and Jolayne Innes Department of Biology Scholarship. “But as I gained exposure to the profession and began volunteering, I fell in love with emergency medicine.”
Participating in research, Lumbreras says, has taught him to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to real-life situations.
“Tyson has a bright future ahead of him as a physician,” Lucero says. “His research, and experience as a CAPSA volunteer, is a great launching point to a career of patient advocacy.”