In May of 2019, Isle Polonko, Executive Director of Clinical Practice Resources for Training and Education, traveled to Aracaju, Brazil with colleague and SANE Program Director, Eileen Allen. The purpose of the trip was to set up the first ever Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program and the first ever Forensic Gynecologic Teaching Associate Program in the entire country, in fact, in all of South America. The training was held in conjunction with a conference held at Tiradentes University and sponsored by SOBEF (Sociedade Brasileira de Enfermagem Forense, or the Brazilian Society of Forensic Nurses) Eileen Allen trained approximately 20 first time SANEs (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) and Isle Polonko trained approximately 12 Forensic Gynecologic Teaching Associates or FTAs. Traditionally, Forensic GTAs (those GTAs who not only have well patient GTA training but are also specially trained to work in SANE training programs) and Forensic Teaching Associates, (instructors who do not have full GTA training but have received specialized training in order to participate in SANE events) work in conjunction with SANE and SAFE program directors both as instructors and simulated patients.
The program in Brazil was groundbreaking. There are very few protections and safety networks for victims of sexual assault in the region and this program is changing the face of how medicine is responding to trauma survivors. GTAs and FTAs are a critical part of this training, as they not only instruct on the anatomical components of clinical skills examination associated with a forensic exam, but also act as simulated patients to provide opportunities for learners to practice the complicated sexual assault forensic evidence collection kit (sometimes called a rape kit) and provide opportunities for learners to practice speculum insertion to competency. The women who participated in the program, training to be FTAs, were courageous, hard working and dedicated. They did an exceptional job and are working in additional settings to provide this exceptional, high quality training.
This Thursday, July 9, Isle Polonko is being interviewed by SOBEF, regarding the work that was completed a little over a year ago. The event will be a live interview on Instagram. The interview will conducted over the course of one hour. Anyone interested in attending, should go to the SOBEF Instagram page, @sobef_br and follow the page. Then, at 7:00 United States Eastern time, Thursday July 9, hit the live button on your own Instagram account. You will be able to view the interview live.
It is an honor for Ms. Polonko to have been involved in this project. The group of women trained as FTAS in Brazil are extraordinary. In fact, a GoFundMe page was set up several months ago to provide opportunities for these women to get to their next training session in order to assist in the training of a new group of SANEs. Ms. Polonko appreciates the opportunity to talk about the project and the courage, bravery and commitment of this group of FTAs, to improving the lives of sexual assault survivors in their country.
On July 15, also at 7:00pm US Eastern time, Eileen Allen, is being interviewed about her work in training the first sexual assault nurse examiners. Both Instragram Live events are free and open to the public. Join us and the representatives of SOBEF to hear about this groundbreaking project. You can reach out to Isle Polonko at with any further questions.