University to host new training in the care of transgender assault victims

More than three dozen medical professionals will be at the UO this week to take part in a first-ever training to help them better assist members of the transgender community who are victims of sexual assault.

Provided by the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force, the all-day training session will take place Thursday in the Jaqua Academic Center. Those attending are mainly certified sexual assault nurse examiners who are trained to conduct forensic medical evaluations of sexual assault survivors.

Two nurse practitioners at the UO Health Center, Colleen Jones and Rebecca Hagerwaite, are taking part in the training. Both are certified sexual assault nurse examiners.

Michele Roland-Schwartz, executive director of the task force, said this will be the first time the state had conducted training on serving the transgender community. The session will help develop both communication skills for working with transgender patients and the necessary medical skills.

Roland-Schwartz said the training is needed because transgender people are both at higher risk of sexual assault and less likely to report it because they have not had good experiences with the medical community in the past.

“This is an area of response that we collectively want to improve on,” she said. “This is a huge population that is at high risk and underserved.”

The task force also wanted to make its programs more available in other parts of the state outside Salem and worked with Erin McGladrey, director of the ASUO Women’s Center, to bring the training to the UO campus. Funding for the training was provided by a grant from the Pride Foundation, an organization that supports LGBTQ groups and individuals in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, with additional support from the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and the UO athletics department.