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NIHD temporarily pauses sexual assault exams

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Northern Inyo Healthcare District responsibly paused its sexual assault evidentiary examinations earlier this fall to obtain specialized and specific training necessary for physicians and nursing teams. Working alongside its local partners, NIHD is working to send a crisis response team for a weeklong training at the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center.

Under the direction of credentialed forensic examiner Dr. Sean Dugan, this specialized training focuses on sexual and interpersonal violence. This training aims to educate healthcare professionals and multi-disciplinary audiences, including prosecutors, law enforcement, and victim advocates.

“Our goal is to provide the highest quality of care to sexual assault survivors,” said Kelli Davis, NIHD Chief Executive Officer. “This temporary pause allows us to work with Dr. Dugan, so the NIHD team is not only competent but confident and compassionate in the care they provide in these cases.”

Historically under a Memorandum of Understanding, Davis said NIHD provided evidentiary exams in its Emergency Department. “As staffing models changed and retirements occurred, NIHD experienced a shift in its evidentiary exam specializations,” Davis said. “These exams require great expertise in a timely manner, and NIHD is committed to working with its partners to find additional ways to support sexual assault survivors.”

Davis noted that with so much resting on the accuracy of these exams, the necessary training would not be taken lightly by the District.

NIHD is supportive of Mammoth Hospital conducting any necessary exams while NIHD’s staff undergoes this critical training.

NIHD continues to work closely with its partners, including the Inyo County District Attorney’s Office, Wild Iris Family Counseling & Crisis Center, Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Bishop Police Department, and other healthcare agencies. The group aims to build confidence in the local social service offerings available when such trauma occurs. This includes facilitating a variety of safe examination locations, allowing the survivor to select where to be treated.