The Department of Public Health’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program provides compassionate and comprehensive forensic nursing care to survivors of sexual assault across the Commonwealth. Over the past 15 years, these expert clinicians have cared for more than 16,000 survivors of sexual assault. As a nurse who dealt with the aftermath of emotional trauma, I understand the importance of the hard work these dedicated nurses provide our community.
Recently, the program was awarded a $3.3M grant from the Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime, to develop and implement The National Sexual Assault TeleNursing Center – an innovative program which aims to transform the care of sexual assault survivors by increasing access to trauma informed care and forensic evidence collection in high risk and underserved populations via the use of telemedicine.
At the Center, which is scheduled to open its doors in April, nurses will utilize best practices in forensic nursing and evidence collection to offer guidance and support via video conferencing technology 24/7 to clinicians providing care to survivors of sexual assault in designated pilot sites. The two sites already chosen are 29 Palms Naval Hospital, in 29 Palms, CA and Naval Hospital Jacksonville, in Jacksonville, Florida. DPH will solicit three additional pilot sites representing rural, tribal and corrections communities for participation later this year.
This past week, I had the pleasure of attending the Center’s Open House at Newton Wellesley Hospital, who graciously donated space for the program. In addition to providing a chance to thank our many partners- including the Department of Justice, American Doctors Online/PhoneDOCTORx, the University of Illinois, the NWH Domestic and Sexual Assault Program and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center- the event underscored the MA SANE program’s commitment to excellence in caring for sexual assault patients and served to remind us all why they are continually recognized as a national model.
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