Medical School Sex Trafficking Curriculum: A Student-Driven Approach

Kristina L. Karlson*, Caitlin Tillson, Erin Van Enkevort, Sorana Raiciulescu, Daniel Bach, Jessica Valenti, Mary L. Triano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human trafficking is a pervasive public health problem with increasing national demands for physician awareness and education. The medical school space offers a variety of opportunities for implementation of a foundational curriculum for understanding and responding to survivors of human trafficking. This manuscript demonstrates a student-driven medical school curriculum on sex trafficking integrated into complementary core coursework on topics such as intimate partner violence, adverse childhood experiences, and sexual history taking. This helps to circumvent the need for substantial time and space for new material and minimizes monetary costs. This student-driven curriculum utilizes foundational national training standards with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and prioritization of specific community needs. Survey results showan association with improved aggregate student knowledge, physician skills, and attitudes, however, assessment of the effectiveness of course material was limited. Our aim is to further support the development and implementation of similar curriculums across medical schools.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Trafficking
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Human trafficking
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • curricular development
  • medical education
  • sex trafficking
  • trauma-informed care


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