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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

SANE at Children's of Alabama

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse who provides expert and compassionate care to survivors of sexual assault and acute events of sexual abuse. Since 2001, Children’s of Alabama’s SANE program has offered skillful care to pediatric and adolescent patients who have experienced or who are suspected to have experienced sexual abuse. 

Our team is comprised of skilled and dedicated nurses with specialized SANE training providing comprehensive care to help start the child’s healing process. They provide a safe environment and ensure the child’s needs are met. Nurses from multiple disciplines throughout Children’s of Alabama volunteer to join this team. After training with senior team members, they share the responsibility of providing 24-hour care through the Children’s Emergency Department.

The SANE program is led by Program Coordinator, Michelle E. Morris, MSN, RN, CNL, NPD-BC, and Medical Director, Kara Huls, M.D.

Children's of Alabama Emergency Department
Benjamin Russell Building
1601 5th Avenue South
Birmingham, Al 35233
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24-hour care

Phone: 205-638-9986
Email: SANE@childrensal.org

Services We Provide

Survivors of sexual abuse and assault require sensitive and trauma-informed care of their medical needs and safety needs. Our SANEs are experts in these cases; they are equipped to provide medical care to the survivor and make additional professional referrals when necessary. They work with the child in a safe and nurturing environment alongside other medical and legal professionals to provide the best care and assistance for the well-being of the child. These services may include:

  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Medical prophylaxis for STI prevention
  • Emergency contraception
  • Counseling referrals
  • Forensic evidence collection
  • Focused and complete evaluations and examinations
  • Joint efforts with Law Enforcement Agencies, Department of Human Resources, District Attorneys, and Social Workers to assist in the legal aspect of sexual abuse cases

SANE Mission Statement

Our mission is to meet the needs of the sexual assault survivor by providing immediate, compassionate, culturally sensitive, and comprehensive forensic evaluation and treatment by trained, professional nurse experts within the parameters of the State Nurse Practice Act, the SANE standards of International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) and agency policies.

The Rainbow After the Storm

Maya Angelou once said “I’ve had rainbows in my clouds. And the thing to do it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so that you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.”

Often as SANEs, we are one of the first people to interact with survivors in a very vulnerable time; a personal storm.

We cannot erase the storm; however we can help them step into hope and healing. We aim to be the RAINBOW after the storm. This vision is captured in our logo. The color teal is the official color for Sexual Assault Awareness and represents our connection to other survivors.

SANE Program History

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Children’s of Alabama began as a project of Emergency Medicine Fellow Dr. Don Arnold. Thanks to a $300,000 grant provided by the Children’s of Alabama Foundation, the program became fully operational in 2001.

Children’s of Alabama’s SANE Program cared for our very first patient in April 2001. Initially, emergency medicine physicians and SANEs engaged in a blended effort to care for patients. In 2005, based on research evidence supporting the excellent performance of trained SANE nurses, the program shifted to a fully SANE provider team. Since that time, highly trained SANEs have provided expert care to both pediatric and adolescent patients who come to Children’s Emergency Department for disclosure of or concern for suspected sexual assault or sexual abuse under the guidance of a SANE program coordinator and medical director.




Leadership History 

2001-2022     Dr. David Bernard, SANE Medical Director
2001-2005     Kelley Farner, RN, SANE Program Coordinator
2005-2023     Chris Jolliffe, RN, SANE-P, Program Coordinator
October 2022-present      Dr.  Kara Huls, SANE Medical Director
December 2022-present     Michelle E. Morris, MSN, RN, CNL, NPD-BC, SANE Program Coordinator



Support SANE

When you make a gift to SANE at Children's of Alabama, through our secure website, you are helping us meet the needs of sexual assault survivors. Thank you for your support.

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