Hannah Rosenthal, the former head of the Chicago Foundation for Women, has landed a new job at WPS Health Insurance, a not-for-profit insurer.
"The first thing I did here is say, we've got to focus on violence against women as a health issue," says Rosenthal. "So much of domestic violence has been viewed as a law-enforcement issue."
At Rosenthal's urging, WPS joined the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and other organizations to form a new group pushing for routine health care screening for domestic violence. The group wants health care professionals to regularly ask patients about abuse.
"When I go to the doctor they ask me if I smoke. They say, 'Hannah, you're too fat, you've gotta lose weight,'" says Rosenthal. "They've never asked me, 'Hannah do you feel safe at home?'"
The coalition has printed up laminated cards with questions doctors can ask patients, such as, "Are you afraid to go home?" The cards also have information about referrals and advice on how to document findings of abuse.
"There's a ruler on one side to measure wounds," says Rosenthal. "If physicians do this, it will have a huge impact. It will save lives."