Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $599,874)
COLORADO FORENSIC PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (CFPDP) ABSTRACT
Memorial Hospital, part of the University of Colorado, is a large healthcare facility in Colorado Springs housing a 24/7 Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) program, the Colorado SANE/SAFE Project (COSSP), and the Sexual Assault Response Project (SARP). Both the COSSP and Colorado SARP work closely with rural/underserved communities to provide education, technical, and clinical assistance to SANEs, and as well as telehealth. Through the provision of support services, Memorial identified a major gap in services and support for SANE coordinators.
SANE programs in rural/underserved areas face a multitude of challenges including a lack of trained staff, limited opportunities to gain experience, limited access to patient advocacy, and a lack of understanding and support from executive leadership. Coordinators for these programs frequently serve a multitude of functions, often without training or support. Sustainability of programs and improved healthcare outcomes for victims should not be dependent on where they are geographically located. The Colorado Forensic Program Development Project (CFPDP) aims to combat these barriers. It is designed to directly support rural/underserved SANE program coordinators, providing opportunities for leadership skill development, administrative management guidance, and sustainability strategy development.
Additionally, the CFPDP aims to address the lack of robust community advocacy in rural/underserved areas. This absence of services presents a major challenge to the provision of trauma informed, patient-centered care. The CFPDP will partner with the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) to provide leadership, advocacy, and support to programs in the project, to assist them in establishing strong and supportive local advocacy services. The CFPDP will employ a specialized team to include two Forensic Program Development Specialists (FPDS), a project evaluator, a project coordinator, a project director, and an advocacy expert. This team will work to improve the availability of expertise by establishing a support network of SANE leaders to provide guidance to SANE coordinators in rural/underserved areas, provide training and support in program leadership and management, program sustainability, program advocacy, and patient-centered, trauma-informed care. This project will increase the capacity of programs to deliver quality care, as well as provide patients living in rural/underserved areas with access to advocacy. Once equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to run and sustain an effective SANE program, coordinators will be better able to advocate to leadership about the value of the program and demonstrate its efficacy which in turn will lead to an increased likelihood of sustained success.