April 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Vail Health Foundation and Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health will host a virtual town hall discussion on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to talk about Eagle County’s first and only Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Forensic Nurse Examiner program. Registration is required. The panel discussion will feature:
- Jonathan Lovins, detective sergeant, Avon Police Department
- Sheri Mintz, chief executive officer, Bright Future Foundation
- Amanda Shelley, sexual assault examiner nurse (SANE) coordinator, Colorado Mountain Medical
- Casey Wolfington, Psy.D., community behavioral health director, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health
In collaboration with Vail Health, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, and Bright Future Foundation, Colorado Mountain Medical is launching this program to ensure victims of sexual assault can receive immediate medical and emotional attention without leaving the community. The moments directly after a sexual assault occurs are crucial for evidence collection and a medical forensic examination. This process can be traumatizing, especially if there are barriers to receiving treatment.
Currently, when someone in Eagle County experiences a sexual assault, they must drive to either Summit or Garfield counties to receive the specialized services they need, including a medical exam. If the victim does not have a car or reliable transportation, they may need law enforcement’s assistance to get to a health care facility. For those who have immigration or law enforcement concerns, this could become a deterrent and prevent them from receiving critical care.
“Experiencing trauma is terrifying and often impacts all aspects of an individual functioning. Launching a local SANE/FNE program is crucial to ensuring victims have the medical and psychological resources needed to begin the path toward recovery. SANE is only one part of a larger picture of trauma recovery and is often the first step in that recovery,” said Dr. Casey Wolfington, community behavioral health director for Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. “We are incredibly grateful that beginning May 1, victims will no longer have to leave our community to receive this care.”
SANE/FNE personnel are registered nurses who completed additional education and training to provide specific and comprehensive care to survivors of sexual assault. Having a local SANE/FNE program in Eagle County ensures that victims can receive immediate attention and the compassionate care they deserve. Anyone seeking SANE/FNE services should call 970-422-3202. For those wanting to speak with a confidential advocate, call Bright Future Foundation’s 24/7 hotline at 970-949-7086.
The new program will launch on May 1. To learn more about the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Forensic Nurse Examiner program, register online for the April 14 virtual town hall.
For more information and to register, visit vailhealthfoundation.org/news/sane-fne-virtualtownhall.