Olivia Mittel, MD
Olivia Mittel, MD

Olivia Mittel, M.D., assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, will be among an expert panel discussing human trafficking Saturday, Oct. 31. The event is part of the 70th United Nations Day Commemoration Conference, hosted by the Kentucky Division of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA).

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. at the University Club Ballroom, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

At UofL, Mittel is among the team that educates and trains medical students and residents to recognize the signs of human trafficking in patients and to intervene on their behalf.

In advance of the UN Day panel, Mittel shares the following statement:

“It is well known that human trafficking victims suffer severe mental and physical health consequences as a result of their exploitation. Because they often require immediate attention for violence-related injuries, serious psychological illness, pregnancy and substance abuse, health care workers are likely to be the only professionals to interact with these victims while they are being trafficked.

“For this reason, the University of Louisville School of Medicine, together with KentuckyOne Health, are committed to developing training protocols to teach our students, nurses and physicians how to identify these patients and refer them to safety.

“By increasing our efforts to understand the nature and scope of the problem in our community, we can better intervene on behalf of these patients and ultimately play a vital role in the fight to eliminate modern-day slavery.”

Mittel will be joined on the panel with Dianna Anderson, chair, Louisville Metro Human Trafficking Task Force; Amy Leenerts, founder and director, Free2Hope Inc.; and Jeanette Westbrook, UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Other speakers during the UN Day program include Rep. John Yarmuth, District 10 Louisville Metro Councilman Steve Magre and lecturer Ambassador Shabazz. Speakers in the afternoon include Mike Beard, executive director of UN Foundation Advocacy and global health director of the Better World Campaign; and Karen Mulhauser, national chair, UNA-USA.

For information, contact Teena Halbig, 502-267-6883 or teenahal@aol.com.

Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.