St. Joseph Medical Center partners to better support sexual assault survivors


Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center is strengthening its commitment to compassionate care for survivors of sexual assault with the launch of a new partnership. St. Joseph Medical Center today announced its partnership with SAFE-T Systems, a group at Penn State’s Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing.

Registered nurses in the emergency department who have completed the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training are essential partners in providing high-level sexual assault care as part of the comprehensive program offered by SAFE -T Systems.

Aimed to serve rural and underserved communities, SAFE-T Systems uses telehealth technology and evidence-based training to facilitate the development of local sexual assault treatment teams. SANEs provide the highest level of health care with a trauma-informed approach for victims seeking treatment after sexual assault. These nurses have been trained and are on call for the emergency department at St. Joseph Medical Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SANEs perform forensic examinations and provide emotional support and expert legal testimony, all within a culturally and developmentally appropriate framework specific to each patient.

“St. Joseph Medical Center has always made it a priority to provide these patients with a safe space for examination and treatment of their trauma,” said Ruth Sano, Director of Critical Care and Services at emergency department at St. Joseph Medical Center.”This partnership will provide valuable resources that will enhance this level of care and may help improve patient outcomes.”

Three other Penn State Health hospitals are also partnering with SAFE-T Systems. Penn State Health’s flagship Milton S. Hershey Medical Center launched a partnership with the SAFE-T Center in 2019 with funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Hampden and Holy Spirit Medical Centers joined in 2022.

At every stage of the process, nurses work with people who have been sexually assaulted to explain their options, including reporting to law enforcement, medical examination and documentation of injuries, gathering evidence, infection prevention or treatment, and referral to community resources and follow-up. -up care for a holistic approach. SAFE-T systems Exclusive nurse-designed SAFE-T Scope technology uses secure video conferencing and a forensic medical device to navigate the highly sensitive exam, minimizing the likelihood of retraumatization while simultaneously preserving the victim’s ability to ask justice with defensible forensic evidence. The approach combines this advanced technology with the compassionate care of SANE to help survivors on their healing journey.

Launched with the support of the Office for Victims of Crime of the United States Department of Justice, SAFE-T Systems is present in the health systems of Pennsylvania. Sheridan Miyamoto, who is a principal investigator and director, is also a faculty member at Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and the Child Maltreatment Network. Miyamoto is a nurse scientist and researcher, Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and Betty Irene Moore Fellow.


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