UCSF’s CARE Program Honored by Citywide Gender Equality Initiative

By Kate Vidinsky

Denise Caramagno speaks at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women’s 2017 Gender Equality Challenge Forum.
UCSF’s CARE Advocate Denise Caramagno speaks at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women’s 2017 Gender Equality Challenge Forum. Photo by Alex Akamine

UC San Francisco’s support and advocacy program for survivors of interpersonal violence has been selected as a model practice by the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women.

The CARE Program, which stands for Campus Assault Resources and Education, was showcased Jan. 27 at the 2017 Gender Equality Challenge Forum.

CARE was established in 2015 as part of a systemwide University of California mandate for each campus to employ an advocate dedicated to helping survivors of interpersonal violence, such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment or stalking.

Support for Survivors

CARE advocates provide survivors with much-needed emotional support while helping them understand their options and accompanying them through the process of filing a report if they choose to do so.

“I think a program like this is vital anywhere. If people who suffer trauma get the necessary support early on, it really helps the healing process,” said UCSF’s CARE Advocate Denise Caramagno. “It’s also hugely important to know your employer supports you and wants to help you heal and recover in your own time.”

Caramagno presented the cornerstones of the CARE Program at the Gender Equality Challenge Forum in San Francisco on Jan. 27. The event was designed to highlight model practices that exemplify each of seven designated Gender Equality Principles. According to Emily Murase, PhD, director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, CARE was selected as an honoree under the principle of securing the health, safety, and wellbeing of women and all people in the workplace.

“UCSF’s CARE Program takes proactive steps to create a workplace culture of supporting and serving women who have experienced gender-based violence,” Murase said. “We applaud UCSF and encourage other employers to take the burden off of the person who has been victimized and ensure that they take seriously and respond to women’s needs in the workplace.”

Help Implement Similar Programs

As part of the model practice designation, Caramagno will collaborate with other institutions to help implement similar programs, and she hopes the positive impact of CARE will continue to spread.

“To any member of the UCSF community who has experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment or stalking and may be hesitant to seek help, know that I will never prescribe a course of action or cast judgment. I am here to help you heal and support you in a compassionate way.”

Caramagno is available to any UCSF affiliate – students, faculty, staff, post-docs and researchers – for crisis intervention and ongoing support. Caramagno assesses each person’s individual needs and acts as a conduit for campus and community resources including counseling, emergency housing, and academic and employment accommodations. Her services are always free and confidential and are available regardless of whether an incident occurs on or off campus, recently or in the past.

More information and resources for survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence can be found on UCSF’s website for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response.

For more campus news and resources, visit Pulse of UCSF.