UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler Nursing Professor Leads National Efforts in Supporting Survivors of Human Trafficking

February 20, 2020

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Senior Director of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that Dr. Cathy Miller, associate professor of nursing, was recognized for her work as the principal investigator in a nationwide collaborative initiative to support victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Miller is among leaders spearheading the United Nations’ Global Strategic Operatives for the Eradication of Human Trafficking (GSO) Initiative that combines healthcare provider education, protocol adoption and research components in six large healthcare systems. The GSO aims to provide human trafficking training to healthcare providers and hospital staff for the recognition, provision of trauma-informed care and appropriate referral of human trafficking victims.

“Human trafficking is a truly hidden crime and a public health problem on the state, national and global level,” said Dr. Barbara Haas, UT Tyler School of Nursing executive director. “We are so proud of Cathy and the work she and her colleagues are doing to shed light on human trafficking and to help improve public and health care provider education and victim assessment and care.”

Through this initiative, the GSO is working in collaboration with the non-profit organization SalehFreedom, which provides safe houses for victim assessment and care and also focuses on public education and victim/survivor advocacy. Current healthcare system partners are RWJBarnabas, Baylor College of Medicine and Harris Health, Advocate Aurora Health, Baptist Health South Florida, Northwell Health and Hackensack Meridian Health.

“The research component is in part, to identify changes in the numbers of victims suspected and identified after the intervention versus the year before the intervention and to measure changes in health care providers confidence in recognition and care provision to this population,” Miller said.

Miller’s research team includes scholars and clinicians from healthcare system partners, partners in Ireland and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This national initiative is the pilot for replication internationally in Ireland, Poland, Mexico, Afghanistan and India, with more countries likely added as new partnerships are identified, Miller said.

In Miller’s most recent publication/study last year, 80 percent of victims in the United States sought healthcare during their trafficking experience, and 55 percent sought care for suicide attempts.

Miller has more than 25 years of experience as an ER, ICU and trauma registered nurse. She has worked with anti-human trafficking organizations for over 10 years and cared for victims and survivors in the clinical setting for over 20 years. She presents and trains nationally and internationally on the subjects of human trafficking, complex trauma and child sex trafficking.

Miller also has multiple published works on child and adolescent complex trauma, human trafficking and child sex trafficking. Additionally, she serves as a consultant and trainer for the US Office of Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) National Human Trafficking Training and Assistance Center (NHTTAC) SOAR program.

At the state level, Miller serves as co-founder and co-chair of the Texas Coastal Bend Border Region Human Trafficking Task Force. She is founder and president of Miller Health Care Consulting, serving as a subject matter expert for various law firms and the US Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas.

She also is an invited member of the newly formed North Texas Academic Collaborative Against Trafficking (NTACT), Optimizing Evidence Based Outcomes for the Texas Governor's Child Sex Trafficking Team.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered to nearly 10,000 students. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News and World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.