NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Auxiliary recently received the Champion for Children Award at the fifth annual Child Abuse Awareness Month breakfast sponsored by the Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel and the Northwestern Children’s Advocacy Project.
Scheibel praised the Auxiliary for its support of the Children’s Advocacy Project, a local resource — part of the national network of children’s advocacy efforts — for child abuse victims and their families. “What the CDH Auxiliary has done is nothing short of inspirational to victims of child abuse and their families,” she said to a crowd of more than 150 people.
Phyllis Maggiolino, president of the Auxiliary, said the award comes after three years of advocacy on behalf of child-abuse victims. An art auction in 2001, coupled with additional donations, helped the Auxiliary raise $30,000 to purchase a digital colposcope, a high-powered diagnostic camera that allows clinicians to perform non-invasive medical exams on victims of child abuse while also documenting and preserving evidence. The Auxiliary donated an additional $12,000 to furnish the room where the equipment will be used.
In 2002, CDH, in collaboration with the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, announced a joint effort to improve the multi-disciplinary response to child abuse cases in the Northwestern District that includes Hampshire and Franklin counties and the town of Athol.
Child Abuse: A Day with the Experts was held at CDH last June to train local medical personnel in state-of-the-art approaches to handling child abuse cases. “With the introduction of the digital colposcope and the training opportunity for staff, we can now offer families the highest-quality services for their children in a warm and soothing environment,” said Dr. R. F. Conway, medical director of the hospital’s Emergency Department.
Conway said the exam area where the colposcope will be kept is referred to as the Northwestern District Pediatric Forensic Evaluation Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and is located in the Childbirth Center.