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Shielding Children Can Improve Health

April 20, 2015
Lebanon, NH

Photo: Unsung Hero Awards: Detective Sergeant Ernest “Buddy” Rowe from Newport Police Department, Detective Kristinnah Adams, from Hartford Police Department, Jon Butler, CPSW IV from DCYF, Littleton, NH .
(Photo by K. Hilliker Photography)

"If we can keep children from experiencing probably the most under-reported and most severe forms of child abuse … we will diminish the cost to our society for medical care,” Dr. Sharon Cooper, told participants in the 12th annual Shield Our Children From Harm professional conference at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on April 9.

Adverse childhood experiences, such as child abuse, child neglect or the death of a parent influence the likelihood of the ten most-common serious health conditions in the United States including smoking, severe obesity, physical inactivity, depression, suicide attempts, alcoholism, illicit drug use, injected drug use, having multiple sexual partners, or a history of STDs.

The annual Shield Our Children Conference is a joint effort between Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD), the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Grafton and Sullivan Counties at DHMC, and the Child Advocacy Center at The Family Place in Norwich, Vermont to bring awareness to child abuse and to provide training necessary for those who do this all important work.

Along with Dr. Cooper’s talks were presentations on “Adolescents and the Internet”, “Promoting Resilience and Positive Outcomes for Transgender Youth”, “Runaway and Homeless Youth” and “Proving Child Sexual Abuse Cases Using Evidence of PTSD”.

The daylong conference began with Unsung Hero Awards presented to Detective Kristinnah Adams, from Hartford Police Department; Jon Butler, CPSW IV from DCYF, Littleton, NH and Detective Sergeant Ernest “Buddy” Rowe from Newport Police Department for recognition of their efforts, above and beyond the call of duty, to deal with issues of abuse in our region.

Cooper holds a faculty position at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a consultant to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, PA a consulting firm which provides medical care, research, training and expert witness experience in child abuse and neglect cases as well as medical care for children with disabilities; and is a member of the US Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.

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