Dr. Allison Jackson has made a career out of protecting children who were injured on purpose. “It’s disturbing,” she says, “but I tend to move toward the disturbing, with hopes that I can help.”
Dr. Jackson leads our Child and Adolescent Protection Center. This is her 21st year at Children’s National. The center treats about 1,000 children annually and has served our community since the 1970s. “We provide a place where abused children might feel hope,” she says. “It’s also a place where they will be believed.”
One patient, an elementary-school aged boy, told her about the extensive physical abuse he had experienced. “He was in a lot of pain,” she says. “We talked about what caused his injuries. I asked if there was anything else he wanted to tell me. He said ‘You’re a lifesaver.’” Critical care in this case took the form of trying to understand what happened to him and ensure his safety. “To him, that was everything.”
She is passionate about educating others who might have the opportunity one day to protect a child. “I hope to build an army,” says Dr. Jackson, who holds the Washington Children’s Foundation Professorship in Child and Adolescent Protection. “If I can teach others who work with children about the signs of abuse and what to do, those are lives saved.”
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