Arkansas innovation institute receives $4M for digital health pilot to improve sexual assault response

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded a $4 million grant to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Institute for Digital Health and Innovation for an initiative to improve sexual assault treatment in rural hospitals.

The Little Rock-based institute's Digital Health Sexual Assault Assessment Program will connect sexual assault nurse examiners with emergency departments in rural hospitals via real-time, interactive video consultations. The nurse examiners will offer assistance and expertise in collecting forensic evidence, as well as counseling victims, ensuring their safety and providing them with additional resources and support.

"The program's final product will be a statewide telehealth sexual assault program in a predominantly rural setting that can be modeled and copied across the United States and used across hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, shelters and crisis centers," Tina Benton, BSN, the institute's executive director of development, said in a release.

The three-year, $4 million federal grant was awarded by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime.

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