UPMC Soldiers + Sailors/ Penn State continue helping sexual assault victims

WELLSBORO, Pa (WENY) — UPMC Soldiers + Sailors and Penn State have teamed up for the past year to provide sexual assault victims with the care they need. Whenever a victim goes to the emergency room, a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) will call another nurse at the SAFE-T Center at Penn State.

“One of the biggest things with patients that have been assaulted is all of their control has been taken away,” said UPMC Soldiers + Sailors nurse educator, Jessica Birbeck. “So we try to give them back as much control as possible. So from start to finish, it’s always their choice in what’s going to happen.”

Together they will talk about the case, and offer the patient the opportunity to have a tele-health consultation through video chat.

“We, on the Penn State side, have expert sexual assault nurse examiners who act as tele-sanes,” said sexual assault forensic examination tele-health center director, Sheridan Miyamoto. “So connect through this cart live every time there is someone who has come forward for care here at Soldiers + Sailors.”

By doing this, both nurses can discuss care for the patient moving forward. The nurses can also help patients develop a record so if they go on to press charges, they’ll have access to their files. Officials say no matter where someone lives, being able to provide excellent care is crucial to a victims healing process.


“It’s important for people no matter where they live,” said Miyamoto. “I don’t think that the public recognizes that depending on where you live you may not be getting the truly evidence based high quality care. So it’s essential for people in their healing that they have exceptional care at the outset.”

Officials with the hospital say since they started the program last year they have helped eight people so far. If you’d like to learn more about the SAFE-T Center, you can visit their website here.