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Masonic Children's Hospital gets $2.5M donation to treat victims of child abuse

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The University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital got a $2.5 million donation to help the hospital better treat the thousands of kids who are abused and neglected every year.

The Otto Bremer Trust awarded the grant to the hospital's Center for Safe and Healthy Children – it's one of the largest donations ever made in the U.S. for a public health crisis, an email news release says.

Joseph Neglia, the physician-in-chief of the hospital, says the donation will "allow us to give our area's most vulnerable patients the highly specialized care they deserve."

The center, which opened in 2014, was the first-of-its-kind in the region to provide comprehensive care to abused and neglected children, caring for more than 350 children and families every year, the release notes.

Donation will help improve education

The donation will help the center treat more children, and hopefully help establish the hospital as a "national leader in combating child abuse and toxic stress," Nancy Harper, associate professor of pediatrics medical director of the center, said in the release.

The main goal of the donation is to improve education by funding an accredited fellowship program to train pediatricians in child abuse. Currently, there are no such fellowship programs in Minnesota or the Dakotas, the release notes.

This will help fill a need across the state. There are just four board-certified child abuse pediatricians in Minnesota, "yet there were more than 20,000 allegations of neglect and abuse in 2014," David Martinson, public relations coordinator at the U of M Health, told BringMeTheNews.

Nationally, there are 324 physicians who are specially trained to treat child abuse victims.

The donation will also give the hospital enough money to hire another child abuse pediatrician and a designated program coordinator, as well as strengthen the center's telehealth capabilities and provide education opportunities to assist with cases not just in the Twin Cities, but in greater Minnesota.

In recognition of the donation, the center will be renamed the Otto Bremer Trust Center for Safe and Healthy Children at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Child abuse statistics

Child abuse is any maltreatment that results in harm or injury, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota says. That includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or emotional abuse and neglect, the Minnesota Department of Human Services says.

In Minnesota, child protective services responded to 19,602 accepted reports of maltreatment involving 25,297 children in 2013, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota says.

More than 700,000 children were victims of maltreatment in the United States in 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says, while 1,580 children die as a result of abuse every year – a rate that's higher than those who die from childhood cancer.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has information on its website for victims of abuse, as well as how to report and prevent child abuse. Click here for more.

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