BP LEE INITIATIVE TO EXPAND SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINERS IN QUEENS

Will More Than Double Current 26 SANE Nurses Dedicated to Queens

Adds 10 More Language Proficiencies of SANE Nurses Across 7 Queens Hospitals

(October 29, 2020 at 11:55am)

QUEENS, NY – Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee today announced an initiative to expand the number, language proficiencies and breadth of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) nurses across Queens hospitals. With this initiative to enhance the accessibility of the critical, sensitive care and expertise sexual assault survivors need, there will be at least 54 SANE nurses covering 14 languages across seven of the borough’s nine hospitals by September 2021.

“Specialized, sensitive forensic care can make all the difference in the immediate aftermath of rape and/or sexual assault, not just in the ultimate pursuit of justice but in the survivor’s own agency and power,” said Borough President LEE. “It is our intent with this initiative to more than double the number of SANE nurses dedicated to Queens by this time next year, and to especially expand the multi-lingual pool of SANE nurses here in the World’s Borough. Queens thanks our committed partners in this shared mission to enhance the accessibility of this specialized expertise to care for and strengthen the Borough of Families.”

The initiative will more than double the current 26 specialized SANE nurses — registered nurses specifically trained to provide comprehensive medical forensic care for survivors of sexual assault or abuse — who work exclusively across just four Queens hospitals, only some of whom speak Spanish, Chinese and/or Korean.

The initiative will further expand the language accessibility of Queens’ SANE nurses by training nurses proficient or fluent in the following languages in addition to English: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu.

Borough President Lee’s funding will pay for the specialized SANE training of 15 of the 28 additional certified nurses, who will complete the SANE training by September 2021. The 28 SANE nurses will be trained at either the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault or Hofstra University.

“NYSNA applauds the Queens Borough President’s initiative to fund more nurses to be trained as certified S.A.N.E. (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurses,” said New York State Nursing Association (NYSNA) Board Member TRACEY KAVANAGH, RN. “Addressing the serious public health issue of sexual violence requires specialized training and expertise. Certified S.A.N.E. nurses are equipped to properly handle the emotional and physical needs of survivors, as well as maintain the integrity of evidence. NYSNA is proud to provide care and support to our community and survivors of abuse and violence.”

“The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault is a leading voice for supporting survivors of sex crimes and preventing sexual violence. Central to its mission is the Alliance’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Training Institute, the largest New York State Department of Health and International Association for Forensic Nurses-certified training program for emergency department and medical professionals in New York State,” said New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault Director of Intervention Programs SARA ZAIDI. “The 40-hour SAFE training provides nurses with the skills necessary to perform a trauma-informed forensic exam on sexual assault survivors, critical to beginning their healing journey. The Alliance is thrilled to support this initiative; it will enhance the quality of care provided to the Queens’ residents when they come to the Emergency Department in the most unfortunate of circumstances.”

“We are thrilled that the Queens Borough President’s Office is spearheading the expansion of the SANE program across seven hospitals in Queens, greatly expanding the capacity of these hospitals to provide trauma informed, forensic health services to survivors of sexual violence,” said Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Commissioner CECILE NOEL. “Survivors need us now more than ever in these extraordinary times. This program expansion is vital to ensuring survivors of sexual violence are treated by well trained nurses who can effectively support and connect them to critically important resources. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Queens Borough President’s Office and the local hospitals to raise awareness about this program expansion and connect survivors to services.”

“We thank Borough President Sharon Lee for helping NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens expand our efforts to provide competent and compassionate care to the victims of sexual assault,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens Interim Chief Executive Officer DEAN MIHALTSES. “Our highly skilled healthcare professionals are proud to serve some of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City. The addition of multilingual SANE nurse practitioners will strengthen our hospital’s existing language access services, and augment our overall strategy to eliminate treatment disparities for patients with limited English proficiency.”

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s Department of Nursing is excited to participate in the SANE program and expand our hospital’s services for sexual assault victims,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst Chief Nursing Officer JOANN GULL, RN. “We look forward having our Nurse Practitioners trained to do comprehensive forensic sexual assault exams that can lead to better outcomes for patients and the prosecution of offenders.”

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s SART program (Sexual Assault Response Team) is proud to collaborate with our Nursing Department to help victims of sexual assault deal with the complex medical, emotional, and legal issues that arise during these cases,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst Emergency Medicine Department Director DR. STUART KESSLER. “Training and integrating Nurse Practitioners into our SART team will further enhance the care we provide to patients in our community who have been sexually assaulted.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Queens Borough’s President Office on this important initiative for specially trained nurses who meet a critical community need,” said Northwell Health Executive Vice President and Chief Learning Officer and Hofstra/Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies Founding Dean KATHLEEN GALLO, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN. “Thanks to a federal grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Hofstra has already established itself as a leader in SANE education with the state’s first and only university- and health system-based program.”

“St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is grateful for the Queens Borough President’s consistent support and funding for this much needed certification,” said St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Vice President of External Affairs RENEE HASTICK-MOTES, MPA. “As the only hospital on the Rockaway Peninsula that provides emergency care, this certification will enhance our ability to ensure that we are meeting the needs of every patient who walks through our doors.”

“NewYork-Presbyterian Queens is proud to partner with the Queens Borough President and our neighboring healthcare providers on this important initiative,” said NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer ALAN LEVIN, MSN, MBA, RN, CPHQ, NEA-BC. “This program is another example of our exceptional nurses’ commitment to providing the highest quality and most compassionate care to the people of Queens.”

“We are so grateful to the Queens Borough President’s Office for supporting our Emergency Department and helping us be more prepared for victims and survivors of sexual assault,” said Mount Sinai Queens Senior Director of Nursing JONATHAN NOVER, MBA, RN. “Our ED has and will always be here to serve our community. Your support is invaluable and it will strengthen our mission.”

The Mount Sinai Health System currently employs nine SANE nurses and two SANE nurse practitioners, along with other associated medical personnel, who rotate through its facilities, including Mount Sinai Queens, as part of its Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program.

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