Faculty Honored for Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking

JoNell Potter, Ph.D., professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Panagiota V. Caralis, M.D., J.D., professor of medicine, have received the Malone Prize for Law Enforcement Vision and Leadership for their work providing services for survivors of human trafficking.

The University of Miami THRIVE (Trafficking Healthcare Resources and Intra-Disciplinary Victim Services and Education) Clinic was recognized as a comprehensive “one-stop shop” medical home offering multidisciplinary services for survivors of human trafficking. University of Miami Health System physicians, public health experts and health workers, in collaboration with Jackson Memorial Hospital and local shelters, established the clinic where victims can access comprehensive care including ongoing primary care, gynecological and other specialty care services, and psychiatric services.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.

Potter, who was instrumental in starting the THRIVE Clinic, recently received a Department of Justice grant to help fund the operation of the clinic under the auspices of Jackson. Caralis is medical director of the Women Veterans Health Program at the Miami VA Healthcare System, and has served as chief of the General Medicine Section of the Miami VA.

Potter was humbled by the award.

“Those of us behind the THRIVE Clinic have been fortunate enough to be mentored by an amazing group of community leaders and law enforcement professionals working together to improve the lives of our survivors,” she said at the award ceremony. “The THRIVE Clinic team is happy to work with all of you and help fill what we saw as a gap for these individuals.”

The Malone Prize, presented by the Women’s Fund Miami-Dade and 3 Generations, was established to honor leaders “for their dedication to fighting sex trafficking in the United States at the local, state, federal and international levels and for their efforts to protect victims and bring offenders to justice.”

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