Citing an analogy used by those in public health fields, Tina Bloom explains that health providers wait on the banks of the river to rescue people who have fallen in and are drowning. But Bloom wants to help more and help earlier. “At some point, you start to think about what’s happening upriver,” she says. As an assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing, her research focuses on safety planning for women in abusive relationships; specifically, she is designing and testing a website that might help women find ways to lessen their danger.
A unique feature of Bloom’s decision aid is the way it helps women to rank their priorities. “What we’re doing is pair-wise comparisons,” she explains. The woman uses a slider to compare different factors: feelings for her partner versus concerns for her children, concerns for her children versus privacy, and so forth. Each woman has a chance to weigh all of the important factors in her life, so that she can make the best decisions.