Healing Connection

Healing Connection with Eric Jepson, DO

with Eric Jepson, DO , written by Alyssa Shikles of Colorado Springs Magazine. Photography by: Meegan Dobson

It takes a skilled doctor to ease a worried patient’s mind. After all, no one visits the doctor for fun. You go because something’s wrong or because you’re afraid something’s wrong. You’re looking for hope in the midst of pain, for answers when your own body feels unknown and uncertain. In these moments of stress and anxiety, a good doctor—with a comforting word and a desire to meet patients where they are—can have an incredible emotional and physical impact.

For Eric Jepson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Colorado Springs Orthopedic Group (CSOG), this is the most critical and challenging facet of his job. For him, fixing the body is easy; the hard part is gaining trust and making patients feel cared for.

When I sat down to talk with Dr. Jepson in CSOG’s south office a few weeks ago, I experienced first-hand how relational he is. There’s something about him that exudes not only kindness and understanding but relatability and genuine interest in others. He has a keen listening ear, and though I came to his office to interview him, I was surprised when he often flipped questions back on me. How long have I lived in Colorado Springs? Do I love the outdoors? How did I handle my first Colorado winter? He wanted to get to know me, and I felt seen.

This small interaction is just a sampling of how Dr. Jepson interacts with patients daily. But to him, making patients comfortable and being present for them is fundamental to his day-to-day work. Anyone can work with a scalpel or heal a wound if they study hard enough, but learning to connect with others relationally? That’s what makes a stand-out physician.

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The Fight Against Human Trafficking

As the world’s fastest growing crime, generating over $100 billion per year, Human trafficking is a tragedy taking place everyday, everywhere, including here in our home town of Colorado Springs.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion in exchange for labor, services, or a commercial sexual act.

Causing someone under the age of 18 to engage in a commercial sexual act, regardless of using force, fraud, or coercion is human trafficking under US Law. Traffickers will use various forms of force, fraud, and coercion to control and exploit victims including imposing of debt, fraudulent employment opportunities, false promises of love or better life, phycological coercion, and violence or threats of violence. This tragic crime hinges on the exploitation of another person. Often people think human trafficking must involve the victim being transported from one place to another however, this is not the case at all. It does not require transportation to be considered a crime and can be committed against an individual who has never left his or her hometown.

Victims can be of ANY race, gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. Many victims do not seek help either due to extreme feelings of vulnerability, fear, and even guilt, absorbing the responsibility for the crime as their own. Traffickers will many times exploit these vulnerabilities to victimize people.

The primary industries, legitimate and illegitimate include those of forced labor and sex trafficking.

DHS law enforcement alone identified hundreds of girls, boys, women, and men as victims of human trafficking in the US every year.

Identifying Human Trafficking

Often ‘hidden in plain sight’, recognizing the signs of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims. No single indicator is proof this crime is occurring however, when compounded may indicate a potential situation.

Reclaiming Hope - Journeying with survivors of Human Trafficking

Reclaiming Hope

is a local non-profit organization journeying with the survivors of Human Trafficking. They help victims at the point of recovery, during restoration and reintegration by addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

When a survivor is recovered, their first connection with Reclaiming Hope comes through their Hope Bags program. These bags are distributed through law enforcement partners when a victim is recovered. Each bag includes new clothing, hygiene items, a blanket, comfort items, snacks and a personal note. Over 5K bags have given survivors a sense of comfort and dignity.

Reclaiming Hope helps survivors past the point of recovery into restoration and reintegration through their Hopeful Women Mentor Program, where women are matched with trained, accountable mentors dedicated to walking along side victims.

To learn more about identifying the signs of Human Trafficking and how you can get involved in putting a stop to this tragic crime within our local community, visit Reclaiming Hope

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