Recently, Zachary Zuckerman, Vice President of Key Bank, stopped by Cortland
Regional Medical Center to present a check from the KeyBank Foundation
for $3800 in support of the hospital’s Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
(S.A.F.E) program. On hand to accept the donation were Deborah Nadolski,
Executive Director for the Cortland Memorial Foundation, Tammy Aiken,
Director of Emergency Services and Mark Webster, President and CEO.
Created over a year ago, the S.A.F.E. Place, part of Cortland Regional’s
Emergency Department services, is where victims of sexual abuse and assault
are taken for an interview and physical exam in a safe, comforting environment.
The intent is to minimize any additional and unnecessary trauma to the
victim by moving them while eliminating a victim’s exposure to process
redundancies that can occur during the reporting system.
This generous grant money will ensure that two ED nurses can complete their
training as well as help purchase a new laptop which is used for facilitating
the exam and interview process to be used as evidence and ultimately for
Spearheaded by Aiken, creating the S.A.F.E. Place was over a year-long
endeavor. “Before we established this service, I was the only forensic
RN on staff to process adult victims. Pediatric victims had to be sent
to locations outside of the county for examination and interviews. This
created an emotional and psychological toll on these already vulnerable
and traumatized children.”
The work done in SAFE Place is not just limited to acute or recent trauma.
Working with the Child Advocacy Center and Child Protective Services,
the SAFE Place staff can perform well-child exams for pediatric patients
who are being monitored in instances of allegations of abuse or neglect.
“The Foundation is very appreciative of this gift from the Key Bank
Foundation. It will ensure our pediatric patients have trained staff to
complete these exams in a safe and comforting setting,” said Nadolski.
The S.A.F.E. Place has also helped foster a positive, ongoing community
collaboration between the hospital and members of law enforcement, social
services and other community services. According to Aiken, more cases
have been processed leading to convictions and ultimately, closure.