Group’s outreach efforts in part a tribute to groundbreaking city doctor

Jean Saylor Brown

Delving into the history of the YWCA in recognition of March’s Women’s History Month has brought some “HERstory” to the surface. Since the YWCA’s inception in 1893, paths have been paved by amazing women of our community, providing means for offered services and programs to allow women and their families to live with dignity and peace. The YWCA ensures the community is provided with a multitude of educational and empowering opportunities, support, and encouragement, as well as safety and security for those in crisis.

Jean Saylor Brown, a leader within our community in the late 1800s, was driven by a passion to see women succeed. As one of the original founders of the YWCA here in Williamsport, she was devoted to ensuring women received as many opportunities as possible. Though Brown moved to Williamsport at the age of 11 and had not been born here, she was rooted in this community. For it was after earning her medical degree in 1874 from the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia that she returned to Williamsport where she set up a local medical practice. With the help of a former classmate, Dr. Rita Church, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Williamsport Hospital. Together, Brown and Church also founded the Williamsport Hospital Training School for Nurses.

Brown’s legacy remains strong within the walls of the YWCA, as a woman obtaining a medical degree in the late 1800s was something rarely heard of. But it was her perseverance that leaves Brown a leading example of the YWCA’s mission to empower women. Becoming a medical professional in a time where women were often left with little means to achieve their goals, Jean Saylor Brown charged on. She helped pave the way for women to feel confident as they worked hard to earn their medical credentials and bring their aspirations to life. It is stories such as Brown’s that continue to inspire many of our community.

Carrying Brown’s passions for the medical field forward through the years, our YWCA has grown and evolved our programming and outreach efforts. A current position held within the YWCA is that of the Medical Advocate through the Wise Options program. The Medical Advocate is trained to provide tools and education to local medical professionals for times when they encounter patients who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other violent crimes.

The training provided by our Medical Advocate helps skilled doctors, dentists, physical therapists, and other medical professionals recognize signals of distress and body language that may need to be addressed. A portion of each training focuses on the use of proper communication and empathy to best address these critical and vulnerable circumstances since oftentimes patients may be hesitant to share the details of the violence or assault they experience.

Rebecca Hosier, medical advocate with the YWCA, shared “Many of the medical staff I talk to have not had training on domestic violence. They simply aren’t sure what to look for or how to begin the conversation when assessing a patient for intimate partner violence.” The YWCA staff take pride in knowing our educational services and advocacy are there to help local providers administer the best care possible to a survivor of violence.

Hosier offers multiple educational series that benefit not only those in the medical world but many within our community. Trainings offered include but are not limited to domestic and sexual violence, screening, reproductive coercion, human trafficking, child abuse and elder abuse. Training presentations can be tailored to the needs of each organization, group, or individual. Hoiser is flexible with scheduling each session and regardless of time limitations will ensure every training offers robust information.

For a complete list of training topics or to schedule a meeting, connect with Rebecca Hosier by calling 570-322-4637 ext. 129 or send an email to rhosier@ywcawilliamsport.org. YWCA training sessions are currently being held in person or virtually.

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or other violent crimes, we encourage you to call our Wise Options 24/7 free and confidential hotline at 1-800-326-8483. Our caring advocates are here to help anyone in need.


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