East Texas Medical Center officials honored Dr. Sherilyn Willis, medical director of the ETMC Tyler's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program.

Dr. Willis, a board-certified specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, has been medical director of SANE since 2010. She provides full medical oversight for the program, which includes training for SANE nurses and ensuring the quality of patient exams. She also provides peer review, meaning she reviews every case, evaluates the quality of evidence collected and provides feedback to the SANE team.

"In short, Dr. Willis truly cares about our sexual assault patients," Bob Evans, an ETMC administrator, said. "She willingly accepts the challenges of serving as SANE medical director and has a passion for this work. The victims of sexual assault in our area have a journey of healing and justice. Fortunately, Dr. Willis is with them on that journey."

In Texas, one in five women, and one in 20 men, has been sexually assaulted. ETMC Tyler's SANE nurses have treated 250 cases of sexual assault during the past five years, and one-fourth of the victims were children.

The ETMC Regional Healthcare System also provides SANE programs at ETMC Athens and ETMC Henderson.

Elmer G. Ellis, president/CEO of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, acknowledged the community partners who share in the commitment of helping patients of sexual violence, including the East Texas Crisis Center, Children's Advocacy Center, CASA for Kids of East Texas, the Tyler Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

"On behalf of all of us at ETMC, we appreciate this support as together we make a difference in the lives of others, from heartbreak to healing," Ellis said.

An anonymous donor provided $27,700 for a new digital camera system that provides better exam capabilities plus digital images that can be stored at high quality until needed in the criminal justice system. Officials said these images are critical to the evidence that could ultimately convict sexual assault offenders.

The ETMC Foundation's Edgar and Lillie Vaughn Trust, established by the late Dr. Vaughn and Mrs. Vaughn in 1957, is also assisting the program by funding the extensive education needed by nurses who wish to be SANE certified.


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