Research Symposium



Watch Mercy College of Health Sciences' 15th Annual Research Symposium webinar: Child Trafficking: Issues and Challenges. The event was recorded on Monday, April 5, 2021 and featured event speakers Dr. Stephen P. O’Meara, Dr. Jordan Greenbaum (Keynote), and Teresa Davidson ARNP, MSN, MA.


Child Trafficking: Issues and Challenges
Webinar: Monday, April 5, 2021 | 2:00 pm - 4:15 pm







2:00 - 2:01 pm

Welcome by Dr. Joe Moravec, Symposium Moderator

2:01 - 2:03 pm

Opening Remarks

2:03 - 2:05 pm Symposium Overview and Introduction to Dr. O’Meara
2:05 - 2:35 pm

Dr. O’Meara’s Presentation. Systematic Involvement of the Legal Environment Toward Significant Reduction of the Incidence of the Trafficking of Children in Iowa.

  • Lowering the incidence of the victimization of minor children for commercial sex (“sex trafficking”) and involuntary labor (“labor trafficking”) must involve a systematic approach, in significant part to be accomplished in the legal environment, including criminal and civil enforcement and litigation.  Toward this end, according to time-limitation, this presentation will highlight key concepts of: the legal definition of sex trafficking, “victims,” and traffickers; some implications of the “system-nature” of sex trafficking for intervention and prevention; and what each of us should be doing regarding sex trafficking. This will include reference to specific cases, especially some cases in or affecting Iowa.
  • At the end of the presentation, the participant should be able to:
  1. Describe human trafficking (sex trafficking/labor trafficking), including its “system-nature and its scope of victimization.
  2. Explain the relationship between “Adverse Childhood Experiences “and the causation and proof of victimization in human trafficking; including some resulting implications for training, investigation, prosecution, and the comparative advantage of an integrated, multi-disciplinary response to human trafficking.
  3. Describe the beginnings of implementation of civil law remedies regarding sex trafficking, including potential implications for health care providers and others.
2:35 - 2:37 pm Introduction to Dr. Greenbaum
2:37 - 2:57 pm

Dr. Greenbaum’s Presentation. "What do We Actually Know About Child Sex and Labor Trafficking?" Child Trafficking in the United States: A public health approach to combatting exploitation.

  • In this presentation, Dr. Greenbaum will share research on domestic and global risk/vulnerability factors for child trafficking (sex/labor), discuss the limits of research to date, identify the problems with prevalence estimates and research priorities. Moreover, she will describe the recruitment/control strategies used by traffickers, examine the physical and mental health impact of labor/sex trafficking as well as the long-term outcomes (what we know). Her focus will be in the research agenda for human trafficking. At the end of the presentation, the participant should be able to:
  1. Recognize the common 'push' and 'pull' factors rendering children vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
  2. Describe the dynamics of trafficking, including recruitment and control strategies.
  3. Explain the health and mental health impact of child trafficking and exploitation
2:57 - 3:00 pm Introduction to Teresa Davidson and Guests
3:00 - 3:45 pm

Teresa Davidson’s Presentation and Survivor Panel. (Heather Brown and Stacy West) “What About the Children? A Trauma-Informed Approach and Case Studies”

  • In this presentation, Ms. Davidson will explore best practices for trauma-informed care of child trafficking victims and survivors, sharing case studies and a panel of young adult survivors sharing their real-life experiences and recommendations. At the end of the presentation, the participant should be able to:
  1. Describe differences between different types of trauma.
  2. Explain how Complex Trauma can affect the brain.
  3. Identify basic Trauma-Informed Care principles in working with people who have experienced Complex Trauma 4.  Discuss real-life experiences of people who have experienced Complex Trauma due to Human Trafficking
3:45 - 4:00 pm Speaker Panel Q&A Dr. Stephen O’Meara, Dr. Jordan Greenbaum, and Teresa Davidson/Panelists
4:00 - 4:15 pm Poster Awards and Evaluations Adjourn


  • Dr. Stephen P. O’Meara
    During his more than 45-year professional career, Stephen Patrick O’Meara served as an Assistant Iowa Attorney General, a County Attorney in Iowa (11 years), an Assistant United States Attorney with duty-stations in Nebraska and Iowa (25 years, including serving as interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa), with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, and in private practice in Iowa and Nebraska. He augmented his practice of public law with graduate study in social work and public administration, and service as the Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the then Iowa Department of Social Services. In his various positions, he has served as a major-case-litigator and as a strategic-programs-developer-and-coordinator, including, among other subjects, emphasis on: child abuse and neglect; mental health; organized-crime drug trafficking and violent crime; terrorism; and, since 2007, human trafficking. In addition to his litigation practice and program development, he has taught in law school and undergraduate colleges, and has been a frequent trainer/speaker in Iowa, Nebraska, and elsewhere.
  • Dr. Jordan Greenbaum (Keynote) 
    Dr. Greenbaum is a child abuse physician. She is the medical director of the Global Health and Well-being Initiative with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and Medical Director of the Institute on Healthcare and Human Trafficking at the Stephanie Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Her research focuses on barriers to healthcare access experienced by trafficked persons, and the design and validation of a screening tool for identifying youth at risk for trafficking/sexual exploitation. She provides training internationally on child sexual abuse, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
  • Teresa Davidson ARNP, MSN, MA
    Ms. Davidson is a Pediatric/Neonatal Nurse Practitioner with 34 years of medical experience. She is the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator at Mercy Medical Center. As a co-founder and current president of Chains Interrupted, she has researched and worked in the anti-human trafficking field for the last 8 years. She is a seasoned and sought-after speaker, passionate about fighting human trafficking here in the US and in developing nations across the globe.

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  • MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center is accredited by the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • Professional continuing education credit is available to attendees who indicate their intentions when registering. Participation certificates to be sent upon completion.
  • Nurses will be awarded 2.0 contact hours by Mercy College of Health Sciences, Iowa Board of Nursing Provider #383 (Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be given).
  • Victim service advocates will be awarded 2.0 hours of continuing education towards renewal of certification from the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. (Full attendance is required; no partial hours will be granted.)
  • MercyOne Medical Center designates this live, virtual activity for a maximum of 1.75 AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • Additional continuing education credits have been approved and are being offered to participants and recognized through these agencies:
    • Foster Care Parents through the Iowa Department of Human Services
    • Law Enforcement personnel through the Iowa Office of the Attorney General

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  • Mercy College of Health Sciences Research Advisory Council 
  • Co-sponsor: Mercy College Alumni Association


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