Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies (DOVE)

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies (DOVE)

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program

Thank you for your interest in the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program. The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program at the Columbia campus is one of several hospital-based programs in New York City offering state-of-the-art forensic and medical services to victims of sexual assault. Medical providers in the SAFE Program work side by side with Social Work staff and/or Volunteer Advocates in the Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies (DOVE) Program to provide compassionate and competent medical care, forensic examination and documentation, and crisis counseling in the Adult, Pediatric and Allen Emergency Departments. Participation in the SAFE Program is an invaluable experience. Medical providers have ample opportunity to enhance medical, history-taking and documentation skills, in addition to mastering the collection and preservation of evidence. Medical providers who become Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners receiving training and on-going clinical supervision in the following areas:

  • Colposcopy and photography of injuries
  • Documentation of evidence and sites of injury
  • Completion of the Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kit and the Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault Kit
  • Effective assessment and response to victims of acute sexual assault and intimate partner violence

Who can participate?

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners must be RNs, MDs, PAs or NPs employed by New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia with a license to practice in New York State and at least one year of post-graduate practice in his/her area of licensure. Each examiner completes an NYS DOH-approved training in the forensic examination of victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. After completing the training, examiners must demonstrate proficiency in the medical/pelvic preceptorship. Additionally, examiners wishing to work in the SAFE Program must agree to dedicate at least one year of service as an on-call examiner, and reside within 30 minutes of the Emergency Departments. Service consists of a minimum of four 8-hour "on-call" shifts per month. New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia employees wishing to become a part of the SAFE Program must meet the aforementioned requirements and receive prior approval for participation by the Program Coordinator and Medical Director. Once approved, medical providers must pass the 40-hour training for Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and subsequent preceptorship. The New York City Alliance Against\ Sexual Assault offers this DOH-approved training twice a year. Examiners are reimbursed in full for the cost of the DOH training (approximately $800). Medical providers who become SAFEs at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia receive 40 Continuing Education Credits for the completion of the forensic examiner training. To maintain NYS DOH certification, examiners are expected to obtain 15 CMEs in DOH-approved coursework/training every three years after the initial certification. The Medical Director of the SAFE Program provides ongoing clinical supervision. Additionally, examiners are paid $350 per patient examined during an on call shift.

The SAFE program

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is designated by the New York State Department of Health as a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Center of Excellence. As a SAFE Center of Excellence, we provide the following services in all three Emergency Departments:

  • Medical (including pelvic) exams by SAFE-trained RNs, MDs, NPs, and PAs
  • Forensic examination and documentation of injuries
  • Completion of the Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kit and the Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault Kit
  • Colposcopic photography and examination
  • HIV and STI Prophylaxis
  • Emergency Contraception
  • Crisis counseling by licensed Social Work staff or state-certified rape crisis counselors (through the DOVE Program)
  • Referrals to free short and long-term counseling within the hospital

Forensic examiners and DOVE Staff/Advocates respond on an on-call basis and are expected to arrive within 30 minutes of the sexual assault victim presenting at triage in any of the three Emergency Departments of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Examiners are RNs, MDs, PAs, and NPs who are dedicated to providing the most competent, timely, and compassionate medical and forensic care to victims of sexual assault. Examiners practice in a variety of clinical areas of the hospital (surgery, emergency medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, etc.), and receive training in the collection of evidence, documentation of injury, physical and pelvic examinations, and the use of colposcopes. Each month, examiners respond to cases in the Emergency Department on an "on-call" basis, traveling from home or nearby, to provide the aforementioned.

Contact Us

For more information on the SAFE Program, or to apply, please contact the Program Coordinator, Denise Ramos, at 212-305-6107 or [email protected].

You may also contact the Medical Director, Dr. Jordan Foster, at [email protected] or the DOVE Program Manager, George Lewert, at [email protected].

For additional information on the SAFE training course or other SAFE Programs in New York City, please visit New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

For information on SAFE Centers of Excellence in New York State and NYSDOH Protocol for the examination of sexual assault, please visit the New York State Department of Health.