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Do No Harm campaign targets domestic violence

Dawn Brazell | MUSC News Center | October 8, 2014

Domestic violence
Sarah Pack

Dr. Marilyn Schaffner, RN, chief nursing officer and administrator for clinical services, is featured as part of the Do No Harm campaign at the Medical University of South Carolina. See other employee statements at this link. (Best viewed in browsers other than IE.) 

It all starts with a conversation, which is why 150 “Do No Harm” posters will be scattered across MUSC’s campus in October.

The brainchild of forensic nurse Kathleen Gill-Hopple, Ph.D., the campaign is part of creating a culture of awareness. Each poster features a personal message, “I care about domestic violence because…”. October 8 marked the nationally recognized day, “Health Cares About Domestic Violence sponsored by the organization Futures Without Violence. The goal is to increase awareness among health care providers during October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. 

Domestic violence
Helen Adams
Forensic nurses Nancy Hall (left), RN, and Dr. Kathy Gill-Hopple, RN,  support the Do No Harm campaign to raise awareness on campus. 

“It’s not that people aren’t individually aware that domestic violence exists, it’s just translating it to the workplace in a way that makes a difference,” she said. “My goal for this campaign is to not have it be in the closet any more but to be up in front of everyone’s face.”

That’s why many employees featured in the posters hold leadership positions on campus. The more upper management leadership becomes involved, the easier it is to pay attention and start having those critical conversations that can lead to change, she said. One change she hopes to see is mandatory screening for domestic violence becoming part of the standard intake for patients. Currently, there’s not a standardized process for it.

Gill-Hopple, forensic nurse examiner program coordinator, serves on the MUSC Domestic Violence Steering Committee that was formed in March of this year to spearhead efforts to generate a grassroots effort to change the culture, creating zero tolerance for domestic violence. The campaign fell together before all the recent press reports about the extent of the problem in the state. An estimated 1-in-4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

“The stars aligned, and the doors opened,” she said of the timing of the campaign. “We’re so huge, it can be hard to find the people who have a commitment or passion for this and bring them all together.”

The campaign starts the conversations needed to make policy changes that begin to address the issues. A coordinated educational push will be needed to help the staff learn how to help patients in a culturally-appropriate way that is non-confrontational and let health professionals know about available resources and how patients can access them.

This already is done with sexual assault in what has been proven to be an effective, holistic model. “We need to do the same thing with domestic violence. In South Carolina, we should be the leaders in what’s happening.”

For those who want to get involved, there are many volunteer opportunities. In the meantime, Gill-Hopple encourages staff and faculty to show their support for preventing domestic violence by posting their own version of the Do No Harm photo and sharing it on their social media accounts using #MUSC and #DomesticViolenceDay. Another good resource is MUSC’s College of Nursing’s page on Domestic Violence guidelines at


If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence direct them to help. Here are some of the local services available in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester County.

  • My Sister’s House - Domestic violence services for Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, (843) 747-4069, Hotline (800) 273-4673
  • People Against Rape - Sexual assault services for Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester,  (843) 577-9882, Hotline (843) 745-0144
  • Liza’s Lifeline - Education, aid to victims, their families and pets, (843) 991-9085
  • Family Court (orders of protection), Charleston County (843) 958-4400; Berkeley County (843) 719-4500; and Dorchester County (843) 832-0360







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Resources >>

MUSC College of Nursing Domestic Violence guidelines

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