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Florida International University (FIU) has received a $1.5 million grant for a university-based program to train sexual assault nurse examiners to work in rural and underserved areas of Florida. A partnership with FIU’s Global Forensic and Justice Center will increase access to forensic nurse specialists at clinics in Sweetwater, Belle Glade, Hendry, and Glades counties.

According to a press release from FIU Nursing, nearly 80 percent of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported, in part because of a severe shortage of license health care specialists called sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs), who help properly secure evidence from survivors of sexual assault, which can lead to higher prosecution rates.

FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, in partnership with the Global Forensic and Justice Center, will collaborate with rural health clinics and hospitals as part of a university-based program to double the number of SANE-certified nurses in Florida to aid sexual assault survivors in rural and underserved communities.

The US Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the $1.5 million grant to Tami Thomas, associate dean of research for the FIU Nursing, to launch the Advanced Nursing Education-Regionally Underserved Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (RUSANE) program. SANE-certified nurses conduct forensic medical examinations and provide survivors with physical and mental health care to help deal with their trauma.

FIU’s RUSANE program will recruit, train, and deploy 30 eligible licensed registered nurses and certified advanced practice registered nurses over the next three years. To learn more about the $1.5 million grant awarded to FIU Nursing to train sexual assault nurse examiners to work in rural and underserved areas of Florida, visit here.

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