SAFE-T Center partners with Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital

Sayre, PA — The Penn State SAFE-T Center and Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital marked their partnership to enhance sexual assault health care with a virtual event on September 15, 2020. Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital is the 8th site that has partnered with the SAFE-T Center across the Commonwealth.

“The [SAFE-T] program developed by Penn State provides a three-prong approach to include a comprehensive training program for nurses, enhance community partnerships with referral agencies, and on-going program development,” said Jill Stenson, vice president and associate chief nursing officer, Guthrie Robert Packer. “Through our partnership with Penn State … we have the opportunity to enhance sexual assault training for our nurses and community partners.  For patients who experience a sexual assault, we are here to provide clinical and emotional support, and referral relations through collaboration with our community partners.”

Laura Mitchell, lead sexual assault nurse examiner introduced the team of SANE nurse from Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, which includes Shelby McCutcheon, Nicole Harding Kane and Jill Kuenzli. The nurses completed clinical skills training, received contactless delivery of the SAFE-T Center specialized telehealth cart and training on how to use the equipment provided by SAFE-T prior to the September event. 

The key of the SAFE-T Center model is the collaborative partnership between the local-site nurse and the teleSANEs, expert SANE nurses who participate in the live sexual assault examinations via highly secure telehealth technology. This approach gives the local-site nurses a chance for peer review, another set of eyes to ensure the quality of the exam and the forensic evidence collection, according to Sheridan Miyamoto, director and PI of the SAFE-T Center.

“This is a true partnership between the local-site nurses and the teleSANEs,” said Miyamoto. “The nurses work together collaboratively to provide the very best care to the patient.”

The virtual event was attended by Bradford County community members, including representatives from the District Attorney’s office and the Abuse and Rape Crisis Center. This was the first virtual launch held by the SAFE-T Center.

About the SAFE-T Center

The SAFE-T Center was launched in 2016 with support from the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime to enhance access to high-quality, sexual-assault care in underserved communities. When a sexual-assault examination is performed at one of the SAFE-T Center’s partner hospitals, one of SAFE-T’s expert nurses participates through telehealth. The expert nurse appears on a screen where she can talk to, and support, both the on-site nurse and the patient. Through SAFE-T’s specialized digital telehealth technology, the expert nurse can also see the live exam in progress, ensuring best practices, proper evidence collection and a safe, supportive environment for the patient.

Other co-principal investigators from Penn State are Lorah Dorn, professor of nursing; Daniel Perkins, founder and principal scientist of the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and professor of youth and family resiliency and policy; Dennis Scanlon, distinguished professor of health policy and administration and director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research and Hui Zhao, associate professor of supply chain and information systems.

Additional support for the SAFE-T Center is provided by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, both at Penn State.