Next Door Solutions receives 2023 Stanford Community Partnership Award

Reaching more survivors of domestic violence

March 7, 2023 | from the Stanford Report

When a Stanford pediatrics resident realized “there were things that weren’t taught in medical school” and reached out to Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence (NDS), the result was a series of presentations to residents at the nonprofit’s permanent shared housing about nutrition, healthy eating, reproductive health, managing the stress of raising children, and domestic violence awareness. That partnership that began a decade ago is still going strong, said Erica Villa, manager of community prevention at NDS.

Domestic violence is a major public health problem, affecting more than one in three women in the United States at some point in their lives. Listening to the experiences of community members who have lived through it, and remembering that service to those affected is the main driver of their work, is the “community first” approach that has been the hallmark of the partnership over the years, Villa said.

Whether working with Stanford’s Emergency Medicine, the Office of Child Health Equity, or others, the partnership has made it possible for medical and undergraduate students to participate in community-engaged teaching, learning, and research, and enabled pediatric residents to work on projects addressing the needs of NDS’ clients, even through the isolation of COVID shut-down.

“I care about the community. I really believe in the mission, I believe in partnerships,” Villa said. “When you are doing the work based on authenticity and are really keeping that vision at the forefront, whether you are successful or not, you are going to feel like you are going in the right direction.”

The partnership’s most recent collaboration has resulted in a five-year National Institutes of Health grant. Community health workers who have worked alongside NDS will conduct annual community mental health surveys, examine social networks used in mental health help-seeking, and assess interventions that have led to improved mental services access and utilization among the Latinx population of East San José.