State Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner network tapped for national pilot program

A Massachusetts network of registered nurses specialized in caring for victims of sexual assault has been awarded $3.3 million to make those experts available through telemedicine technology to providers throughout the country.

The state Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program makes specialized nurses available on-call to assist with the physical and emotional needs of people who experience sexual assault and to conduct the specific examinations necessary for criminal proceedings. Created in 1997, the program has provided care to more than 16,000 people.

The three-year federal grant will provide the technology necessary to make that support available long distance and around the clock to four pilot programs where there may be few specialized providers and significant need. The state is recruiting partners representing a tribal region, a correctional facility, a rural community, and a location of the US Navy.

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The telenursing center will be based at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The three-year grant also will provide technical assistance to the partner locations.

“All survivors deserve the access to the expertise SANE brings together: forensic evidence collection, nursing, and advocacy,” Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area rape Crisis Center, part of the network, said in a press release.