As the founding CEO of Your Community Health Center, I knew HIPAA regulations but as the executive director of Russell House I learned a new level of confidentiality which regulates the security of crime victims. This confidentiality is more complicated and restrictive than HIPAA rules. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.safeta.org/resource/resmgr/HIPAA_v__VAWA_FVPSA_VOCA_cha.pdf
As a provider of services for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, our staff and volunteers are trained first, in the area of confidentiality. No personal identifying information about individuals can be shared without their written consent. Our location is undisclosed because even information that might disclose the location of a victim is not allowed. Personally identifying information includes information such as an individual’s name, address, other contact information, and social security number, but it also can include information such as an individual’s race, birth date, or number of children if, in a particular circumstances, that information would identify the individual. Personally identifying information also may include information that is encoded, encrypted, hashed, or otherwise protected.
Since confidentiality is critical to protect victims of crime, it is difficult for us to share our story with the community. We won’t tell you personally identifying information about one of our clients, so how do we tell you our story? We decided to start with our leadership team. Although our identity is not confidential we thought a picture of feet, instead of faces, might be a way to help explain why Russell House won’t be showing you pictures of our clients.
To learn about our leadership team I first asked each director a set of questions and then asked them to grab their favorite pillow case, take off their shoes and let me take a picture of their feet. (The lovely pillow cases are a gift from a remarkable group of quilters in our community. We will feature these amazing humans in another post. And please know, no pillow cases were hurt in the filming of this post as shoes were off and the cases went directly into the washer.) Here is our leadership team.
Our newest member is Kristyn Y, a recent Brown School of Social Work graduate at Washington University. Kristyn is Director of Outreach and has been at Russell House almost two months. She said; “I love that I get to work on training and development for our Sexual Violence Program. Being able to start a dialogue and facilitate conversations on SV is a passion of mine. I am excited to get out into the community and really focus on projects promoting services related to sexual violence.” She said she recently really enjoyed reading Madeline Miller’s, Circe. If you like historical fiction and Greek mythology (or even if you don’t) it’s a great read (and a great Audible listen).
Katie C, director of internal operations and legal services (for almost three months) has been with Russell House since 2016 (she began her work here as an attorney for clients of Russell House). Katie said; “I love the freedom and ability to develop new programming and advocate for victim’s rights. I also like the flexibility to cater services to individual client’s needs. I am looking forward to contributing to the success of RH and working to ensure RH will be providing services to victims for many years to come.” Katie’s favorite book: Admiral by Sean Danker
Gennifer V has been with Russell House for six years and has been the director of shelter safety and security for a little over a year. The best part of her job? “Helping show others easy ways to feel and be safe in their surroundings.” Gennifer said she is looking forward to; “Continuing to learn more about Safety within Technology and completing some long awaited projects that offer security and comfort for those we serve.” Gennifer couldn’t decide her favorite book but said she likes autobiographies.
Carol B, director of finance, has been at Russell House for 20 years. Carol said one thing she likes; “There is something new to learn nearly every day.” She also looks for to learning more about QuickBooks Online. Her favorite book; “Heidi (I’ve read the book many times as a child and several times as an adult.)” Carol’s feet aren’t in the picture, but the new director of finance Tina M is “standing” in for Carol.
I (Amy B-M) began working at Russell House as the interim executive director, April 1, 2019. I fell in love with Russell House and accepted the position of executive director in September 2019. I love Russell House because I get to see positive changes in residents, staff, and the shelter. Everyone is working to make Russell House a place where violence is never okay, where mistakes can be opportunities to learn, and a lovely and caring shelter is here for those who need us. I look forward to talking to the community about our work. Before I came to Russell House I didn’t know we also serve victims of sexual violence, and stalking; and that we provide legal advocacy. Russell House also has outreach offices in Salem, Steelville, Vienna, and Rolla. One of my favorite books is Beloved by Toni Morrison.