Health Care News

Kimberly Chang Recognized for Turning Human Trafficking into a Frontline Health Issue

Since beginning her career as a community doctor, Kimberly S.G. Chang, MD, MPH, has been driven by the belief that human trafficking should be treated as a public health issue, not a law enforcement matter. Now Harvard University is recognizing Dr. Chang’s achievements in this area by bestowing on her the Emerging Public Health Professional Award.

As described in the Harvard award announcement, Dr. Chang has “spearheaded a movement and effectively created systemic change to address human trafficking as a health care issue.”

Dr. Chang, a member of NACHC’s board of directors, first encountered victims of trafficking as a young doctor. In a 2016 article, she explained that helping trafficking victims motivated her to return to school to study health policy:

“I felt I needed to acquire the policy tools to be able to elevate the issues of immigrant and refugee health and of trafficking in the health care, community health, and public health arenas.”

Currently, Dr. Chang is a Family Physician and the Human Trafficking and Health Care Policy Fellow at Asian Health Services, a Community Health Center in Oakland, California.

In this role, Dr. Chang has focused on developing protocols for helping federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) care for victims of human trafficking. Harvard’s award recognizes Chang’s success:

“Because of her work, there will be new quality measures on human trafficking and a new Cooperative Agreement Agreement (the National Health Network on Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking) to provide training and technical assistance to FQHCs.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Chang participated in a webinar to help health care providers and community partners respond to domestic violence and human trafficking, support victims experiencing abuse, and promote resiliency in children during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In a recent NACHC blog post, Dr. Chang announced that this fall there will be more opportunities for health centers to receive training about preventing and responding to intimate partner violence and human trafficking in their communities.

Read more about Dr. Chang’s work:

Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking: How Health Centers Can Respond During COVID-19

Human Trafficking Under the Spotlight on Capitol Hill