George Mason receives NIJ grant to advance research on bruise identification

Dr. Katherine Scafide received a $398,719 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant for her proposal entitled: Improving the Forensic Documentation of Injuries through Alternate Light: A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership.

The grant will enable Scafide to advance her work on bruise identification using alternate light sources (ALS) and develop training protocols to translate the ALS technology into practice. "Our studies have found that ALS works in helping to identify hard to see bruising or bruising on darker skin. However, we've seen that many hospitals are hesitant to adopt ALS technology because there is no established protocol on its use."

The NIJ grant is crucial in advancing the science and the adoption, because it is not enough for a hospital to buy the equipment. A forensic nurse must know how to photograph bruises using alternate light and be able to document, interpret and testify to the results in court."

Dr. Katherine Scafide

The grant allows Scafide and collaborators to develop a program to implement ALS into forensic nursing practice and evaluate its feasibility. The study will help identify potential barriers that could interfere with successful adoption across forensic nursing units.

"Developing this protocol is an amazing example of partnership between researchers and practitioners," says Scafide who is working in collaboration with researchers from Georgia State University and University of Nevada, forensic nursing units at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Inova Health System, and consultants from the Montgomery County Police Department and Maryland State's Attorney's Office.

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