Nursing Professor Receives Grant to Expand Services for Sexual Assault Survivors on University Campuses

The Duquesne University School of Nursing is one of eight higher education institutions across the country recently awarded a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant designed to offer medical forensic care, advocacy and other victim services to sexual assault survivors on university campuses.

Dr. Alison Colbert, associate professor in the School of Nursing, received nearly $500,000 of the funding to develop and implement the DUSON Campus SANE Network, a model to enhance sexual assault health care on small- to medium-sized university campuses, with an emphasis on those in rural areas.

"We know that sexual assault on campus remains a problem. And the effect on survivors lasts well beyond the college years. We also know that there are issues specific to the campus environment that warrant tailored services, and this is even more true in rural areas. This grant will allow us to expand our broader efforts to ensure that all victims of sexual assault have access to high-quality, patient-centered care," says Colbert. The program will equip student health nurses with the skills to provide care and connect students to critical services in a compassionate and trauma-informed way. Campus-based nurses will also be prepared to lead efforts combating sexual violence.

Colbert is also the recipient of a $7,000 RWJF Alumni Activation Fund grant for her project, The Intersection of Disability and Healthcare During COVID-19. Individuals with disabilities are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and, if infected, have a greater likelihood of developing more severe disease. "We have also come to recognize." Colbert says, "that people with disabilities have unique challenges to consider in the design and delivery of healthcare beyond the complications related to immediate health. For example, issues like access to accessible, accurate and timely public health information and what social distancing means for individuals who require direct support." The purpose of the project is to describe the barriers and facilitators to engagement in health care, in order to identify strategies to improve accessibility and, ultimately, the health status of people with disabilities.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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