The Business Examiner's 2013 Health Care Champions honored Yolanda Duralde, MD, Medical Director of the Child Abuse Intervention Department at MultiCare Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center.
Dr. Duralde received the Emergency Services Award, which recognizes a medical response unit with an outstanding "save" or innovators in providing emergency care and services to the community.
The Child Abuse Intervention Department offers medical treatment, psycho-social support, legal advocacy and crisis intervention services for victims of child abuse and their families.
(Related story: "Tips for parents: Child sexual abuse prevention")
“What we feel like is that it’s very important to intervene at an early stage and try to prevent child abuse,” Dr. Duralde told the Business Examiner. “But if child abuse occurs, we need to catch it early and help all of the people involved, because we know it has long-term effects well into adulthood. It makes a huge difference in terms of people’s well-being and their medical problems, so we’d have much healthier citizens, if we didn’t have to deal with the effects (of child abuse)."
Dr. Duralde told the Business Examiner that she sees her role as a form of community service.
“I think it’s part of being an aid or helper to the greater community,” she told the newspaper. “The effects of child abuse are felt by the whole community, and it takes the whole community to respond. That’s always what’s attracted me to this kind of work.”
In the interview, Dr. Duralde said the formation of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Pierce County, on the Mary Bridge campus, is one of her greatest achievements and on of the greatest achievements of the MultiCare organization as a whole.
The Children’s Advocacy Center team includes, but is not limited to, representatives from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement, Child Protective Services, the Attorney General’s Office, local mental health provider, forensic interviewers, victim advocate, social workers and medical staff from the Mary Bridge Child Abuse Intervention Department.
“Being from a family of physicians definitely impacted how I think about giving back and wanting to help as much as possible,” Dr. Duralde told the Business Examiner. “That has been basically how I grew up and how my family has always thought. To me, it seems normal to interact with a bigger team and try to make your community as good as it can possibly be.”
Business Examiner Media Group, in partnership with the Pierce County Medical Society, selected the Health Care Champions from nominations by South Sound medical professionals and residents.