Providing expert care to sexual assault victims in rural and underserved communities of Texas
Sexual assault can occur any place at any time. Telehealth helps bridge the gap by supporting nurses and survivors in medically underserved and rural areas with experts in trauma-informed care. On-call, just as if they were in the emergency department room of a hospital, these forensic nurse experts provide guidance and support to not only the nurse on-site but the sexual assault victims as well.
- The Texas Teleforensic Remote Assistance Center (Tex-TRAC) was established with federal grant funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) to plan, develop and pilot test a statewide sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) telehealth program to serve rural and underserved communities in Texas.
- When a nurse at a partnering hospital conducts a sexual assault examination, they will have access to a team of forensic nurses on-call 24 hours a day from a remote location. The expert nurse provides support and guidance throughout the entire exam creating a team-based approach to trauma-informed, patient-centered care.
- The patient and nurse at the hospital are able to see, hear and visit with the expert using specialized video-teleconferencing equipment developed specifically for the health care setting to ensure privacy, confidentiality and expert care delivery.
Mission and Vision
Tex-TRAC uses a trauma-informed model that focuses on the individual and promotes future health and well-being for all persons who experience sexual assault. Tex-TRAC utilizes telehealth to provide continuous availability of high quality medical forensic exams regardless of geography or community resources.
Our vision is that all people who experience sexual assault will have access to high-quality medical forensic exams with sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) expertise, advocacy and community support that promotes optimal outcomes.
Who We Serve
Tex-TRAC sets the foundation for providing 24/7 expert care to sexual assault victims in rural and underserved areas across Texas. Our team works with fellow health care providers, community-based survivor advocates, law enforcement agencies and public service entities to increase our network of resources to support survivors.
How We Serve
The first year – 2020 – served as the development phase of Tex-TRAC. Federal funds support a staged approach to the implementation of our state’s first teleSANE program, which allowed our advisory board and interprofessional team to identify partners in rural and underserved areas, develop specialized technology and create supportive documentation and resources for health care providers.
The second year – 2021 – brings the development phase to life. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) are now serving areas in Texas that previously did not have access to an experienced forensic nurse. We also initiated a 24/7/365 hotline for clinicians in need of guidance while performing a medical forensic exam to compassionately treat patients surviving sexual assault.
Current Partner Sites
Tex-TRAC provides patients seeking care in rural and underserved areas with 24/7 access to an experienced sexual assault nurse examiner to ensure location is not a barrier to a survivor receiving trauma-informed, patient-centered care.
Interested in becoming a partner site? Submit your request for additional information in joining Tex-TRAC as a clinical pilot site.
Toll-free Hotline for Clinicians
To support clinicians performing medical forensic exams, our team now leads a call center where guidance in treating patients surviving sexual assault is provided. Clinicians my call the toll-free hotline to consult with a forensic nurse expert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days year.
Our Research Team
Texas A&M University College of Nursing
- Nancy Downing, PhD, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, FAAN, Principal Investigator
- Stacey Mitchell, DNP, MBA, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN, Co-Principal Investigator
- Angela Mulcahy, PhD, RN, CMSRN, CHSE, Education Director and Coordinator of Training
- Laurie Charles, MSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, CA-CPSANE, CHSE, Director and Coordinator of SANE Services
- Kim Zemanek, PhD, MEd, Associate Program Director
- Kayce Ward, MSN, CA-SANE, CP-SANE, SANE-A, Forensic Nurse Program Manager
- Chelsea Knutson, MSN, RN, CNE, CA-SANE, Simulation Coordinator
- Patricia Ehlert, MSN, RN, CNE, Continuing Education Coordinator
Texas A&M University College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering
- Gerald Coté, PhD, Co-investigator, Remote Examination System
Texas A&M University College of Medicine
- Carly McCord, PhD, Co-investigator
Texas A&M University School of Public Health
- Heather Clark, DrPH, Research Partner and Evaluator
- Emily Martin, MS, Senior Research Associate
Serve as a Forensic Nurse Expert Consultant
We are in need of experienced forensic nurses to provide trauma-informed care via telehealth. Learn how this role supports, guides and mentors on-site clinicians to effectively collect evidence while providing expert care for survivors of sexual abuse in rural, underserved areas in Texas.
Nancy Downing, PhD, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, FAAN, Associate Professor
- Texas A&M University College of Nursing
- Ph: 979.436.0157 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Zemanek, PhD, MEd, Associate Program Director
- Texas A&M Health Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing
- Ph: 979.436.0186 | email@example.com
This website was produced by Texas A&M University under 2019-V3-GX-K019, awarded by the OVC, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.