UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) System recently received the 2023 Pennsylvania Rural Health Program of the Year Award for person-centered, evidence-based and trauma-informed forensic care for of sexual victims. attack the entire commonwealth.
The award recognizes an exemplary health program that addresses an identified need in a rural community by using unique, creative and innovative methods to meet that need. It was presented by Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, in honor of National Rural Health Day, Nov. 16, and Rural Health Week in Pennsylvania, Nov. 13-17.
Founded in 2017, the SAFE-T System is an equitable access model for palliative care that provides telehealth support and guidance during forensic sexual assault examinations 24 hours a day. a day, seven days a week, to ensure that patients take their first step towards recovery in a familiar, local environment. Working closely with rural community partners, including advocacy, law enforcement, district attorneys, and regional and state government officials, the SAFE-T System provides a comprehensive approach to access. of specialized care and improved patient outcomes.
“This award is a testament to the power of collaboration and partnership,” said Sheridan Miyamoto, founder and director of the SAFE-T Center and associate professor of nursing. “None of our achievements would be possible without the strong health partners we have the privilege of working with in rural communities… thanks for being the champions of innovation to bring specialized care in your communities.”
Cynthia Bittner, assistant director of the SAFE-T Center, emphasized the importance of collaboration with their mountain hospital colleagues in Pennsylvania.
“Rural hospitals are small, but they are powerful,” Bittner said. “For hospital leaders, ensuring that their community has access to high-quality medical sexual assault forensic care is a strategic priority.”
The SAFE-T System team says that by improving access to quality sexual assault care by connecting nurses in rural areas and marginalized communities with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) through telehealth, victims begin their path to recovery and justice from day one. Since it began in 2017, the SAFE-T System has had a positive impact on patient recovery and recovery, with 92% reporting that they felt better after the exam. Over 88% of victims who had pre-exam concerns felt that concerns were alleviated during SAFE-T System exams at their local hospitals.
However, Miyamoto, who is also a member of the faculty funded by the Social Science Research Institute, said that while he is grateful for the ability to reflect on the impact of the SAFE-T Center so far, more needs to be done when it comes. to address sexual violence in this country.
“Every day, there are people who experience violence and abuse, but many communities do not have access to SANE care that promotes healing and justice,” Miyamoto said. “The local nurses who face the challenge of this work and the brave individuals who are hurt and seek care continue to inspire us and inspire us to continue our mission to provide access to special care. – care of the new standard.”
About the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health
PORH began in 1991 as a partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Penn State. The office is one of the 50 state offices of rural health in the country that serves as a source of technical assistance, coordination, networking and partnership development to improve access to high quality health care in rural communities and increase the health status of rural residents. Located in the department of health policy and administration in the College of Health and Human Development, the office provides expertise in the areas of rural health, population health, quality improvement, oral health, agricultural health and safety, and others.