Penn State expands care for sexual assault victims with telemedicine

Pennsylvania State University is launching a 15-month telemedicine project to improve the quality of sexual assault forensic examinations.

A sexual assault forensic exam, often called a "rape kit," is conducted by a trained forensic nurse who collects and documents DNA and circumstantial evidence on a patient, which can later be used during a criminal investigation. Penn State's project, called the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and Training Center, or SAFE-T Center, focuses on bringing this specialized care to rural areas.

Rural areas often lack specialty resources, according to Sheridan Miyamoto, PhD, assistant professor in the Penn State University College of Nursing. With this project, Penn State researchers will connect forensic nurses with less experienced nurses through video conferencing for 24/7 live exam guidance.

The SAFE-T Center project is backed by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime.

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