SAFE-T Center receives grant to increase access to SANE services on campus

University Park, Pa. — The Penn State SAFE-T Center has been awarded a grant from the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to support their campus outreach plan, “Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center Campus Community Collaborative.” The proposal outlines a plan that includes working with Penn State University Park and Commonwealth Campuses and other higher education institutions throughout Pennsylvania.

The SAFE-T Center plans to strengthen the relationship between local sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) nurses in the SAFE-T Center service areas and college campuses in these areas. The SAFE-T Center program is in place in eight hospitals across Pennsylvania in Bradford, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Lycoming and Tioga counties.

“Through this work, we are not only impacting the experience of sexual assault survivors at Penn State but across Pennsylvania, which aligns with the Land Grant Mission of Penn State to provide education and resources to the entire commonwealth,” said Sheridan Miyamoto, director of the SAFE-T Center. “We have identified enthusiastic partners from student services, advocacy organizations, and Title IX representatives at both Penn State and campuses located in SAFE-T Center service communities. We are excited to start this work and be able to provide more resources to survivors of sexual assault.”

As part of the work associated with this grant, the team plans to develop a course about the SANE nursing field for College of Nursing undergraduate nursing students. There is a nation-wide shortage of SANE nurses. According to Miyamoto, introducing the SANE field during the undergraduate curriculum may grow the forensic nurse workforce to ensure victims of abuse receive compassionate, quality care.

The OVC awarded a total of $3,836,877 to eight institutions, with the maximum award of $500,000. Penn State will receive $500,000 over three years to fund this work. Jocelyn Anderson, assistant professor of nursing, Penn State, is a co-investigator on this project.

About the SAFE-T Center

The SAFE-T Center was launched with support from the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime as a solution to enhance access to high quality sexual assault care in underserved communities. When a sexual assault examination is performed at one of our partner hospitals, one of SAFE-T Center’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 our specialized digital telehealth technology, she can also see the live exam in progress, ensuring best practices, proper evidence collection and a safe, helpful environment for the patient.