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Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center receives $1.49 million grant to continue Indiana SANE Training Project

July 10, 2024

Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center (AHEC), hosted by the University of Southern Indiana, has received $1.49 million in federal funding distributed over the next three years from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to continue the Indiana SANE Training Project. The project provides advanced nursing education statewide to increase the number of forensic nurses, also known as sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs). SANEs are specifically trained to provide evidence-based, trauma-informed medical care to victims of sexual assault or abuse and to ensure specimens are collected appropriately.  

The Indiana SANE Training Project focuses on rural and medically underserved communities with the goal of providing highly specialized care to all residents of Indiana, regardless of where they live. The project provides medical forensic education, training, resources and clinical support to healthcare providers and offers funding assistance to cover the costs associated with this training. As part of the project’s scope, Angie Morris, Project Coordinator, provides technical assistance and expertise to healthcare facilities and professionals, as well as Indiana prosecutors. 

Southwest Indiana AHEC will continue to partner with the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking, International Association of Forensic Nurses, Indiana State Police Crime Lab, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Indiana Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance and Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. 

During the three-year project period, the Indiana SANE Training Project will focus on four primary goals: increasing the number of trained and certified SANEs; increasing the number of available SANE trainings; expanding access to sexual assault forensic examinations, especially in rural and underserved areas; and fostering an environment that supports SANE training, practice and retention. 

“This new funding will allow our project to further expand educational opportunities for nurses to improve clinical competence and confidence to provide high quality forensic medical care to victims of crime across the state," says Jane Friona, Executive Director of Southwest Indiana AHEC. “Access to a trained medical forensic provider improves patient outcomes and aids in successful prosecution of offenders. It is our intent to explore effective and innovative ways to ensure these vital services are offered in all communities, including working with the Indiana Primary Health Care Association.” 

Friona says the Indiana SANE Training Project has made an impact on the number of SANE programs offered in the state, especially in rural areas. "When looking at the number of counties offering adult/adolescent SANE services, there has been an increase of 37% since starting this project, and the number of counties offering pediatric SANE services has increased by 65%," she says. 

Southwest Indiana AHEC began as a regional center in 2008 and is part of a national network with a mission to improve health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities. 

For questions, to be involved with the Indiana SANE Training Project or for more information, visit or email Friona at    

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,490,273 with zero percent financed with non-government sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. 

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