Meet The Board of Directors

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Catherine Rossi, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN

President, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Catherine Rossi is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Board Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for pediatrics, adults and adolescents. She earned her Associates degree in Nursing Science from Regent’s College, Albany, NY in 2005. She earned Masters degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2014.

She practices with and directs the Forensic Nursing Program with the Cone Health System in Central North Carolina which she established and has managed since 1997. She has been instrumental in the promotion of the field of Forensic Nursing for North Carolina, where she pioneered the use of a unique blended learning educational curriculum to serve the needs of health care providers in rural and urban areas affected by staffing shortages.

Over the past 21 years, Catherine has developed significant expertise in the field of forensic nursing and interpersonal violence and is frequently invited to lecture extensively for law enforcement, attorneys and health care providers on numerous topics such as sexual assault, human trafficking, and strangulation. In addition, Catherine has published and presented at the local, state and national level on key forensic issues and topics. She is a lifetime member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and served as a Certification Commissioner in 2017.

AFN was founded on the principles of inclusivity and allows for the diversity of thought, while encouraging the professional growth of all forensic nurses through scholarship, education and service.”

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Dr. Jennifer Johnson, DNP, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC, AFN-BC, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN

President-Elect, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Jennifer Johnson is a Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and a Board Certified Advanced Forensic Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified Forensic Nurse Examiner, and Board Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for pediatrics, adults and adolescents, she earned her Associates degree in Nursing from Fort Scott College. A Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Pittsburg State University, Master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Maryville University in St. Louis. Jennifer is the Manager for the Forensic Assessment Consultation and Treatment (FACT) Program at Shawnee Mission Medical Center located in Merriam, Kansas, as well as the President and Owner of Johnson Legal Nurse Consulting, LLC.

"AFN provides those in the forensic community a means to collaborate and network while focusing on all aspects of forensic science.”

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Diana Faugno, MSN, RN, CPN, SANE-A, SANE-P, FAAFS, DF-IAFN, DF-AFN

Immediate Past President, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Diana Faugno graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing-University of North Dakota and a Master of Science in Nursing-University of Phoenix. Ms. Faugno is a Founding Board Director for End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) She is a member of the Board of Directors for the California American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She is a founding board member for the Academy of Forensic Nursing and the current past president of the Academy of Forensic Nursing as well as a retired-fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Science. She is a Distinguished Fellow in the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the Academy of Forensic Nursing. She currently is the nurse examiner at Live Safe resources in Dallas, Georgia. She was the nurse examiner at the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center and Eisenhower Medical Center’s SART team for many years. She provides trainings throughout the country ​and is the co-author on numerous textbooks and papers on dealing with the forensic medical aspects of violence such as sexual assault, strangulation and domestic violence.

“The AFN is committed to the application of scholarship, education, and service and is home to leaders and mentors in forensic nursing practices globally.”

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Valerie Sievers, MSN, RN, CNS, CEN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN
Secretary, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Val Sievers is a Forensic Clinical Nurse Specialist with more than 35 years of health care experience as a registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, educator and consultant with extensive practice experience in the arenas of emergency and critical care nursing, academic education and forensic clinical practice. As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Val provides advanced education to healthcare and interdisciplinary professionals regarding the care and treatment of patients affected by violence and abuse to include; evidentiary examinations for adult, adolescent and child survivors of sexual and physical abuse.

She is currently dual board certified as an adult-adolescent and pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner. In addition, Val has provided consultation to hospitals, health care agencies, non-profit organizations, communities and military installations regarding collaborative strategies for developing or improving a response to those affected by violence. Val worked in the position of Colorado SANE Project Coordinator/Director for 15 years, a project funded by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice before moving the position and funding to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs to support an academic and clinical foundation for forensic nursing education.

In 1995, Val and emergency nurse colleagues developed the first Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in Colorado at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs and for 24 years provided forensic healthcare services to children, adolescents and families at Safe Passage, a Children's Advocacy Center. Currently, Val is owner of MedLaw Consultants, LLC, a forensic healthcare consulting practice.

“The Academy of Forensic Nursing, with a focus on evidence based education, practice and rigorous scholarship is well positioned to have a positive impact on forensic healthcare.”

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Debra Holbrook, MSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, DF-AFN, FAAN

Treasurer, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Debra Holbrook attended Wilmington University for both Graduate and Undergraduate studies. After working in the field of critical care, Mrs. Holbrook founded a Forensic Nurse Examiner Program in Delaware that became a model of the United States (US Senate, 2002).

In 2002 she testified on Capital Hill before a Senate Judicial Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs on behalf of the Bill that became the DNA Justice Act. She is a subject expert for the Department of Justice and the U.S. Military, and has developed a model for mobility in forensic care. Mrs. Holbrook will be inducted as a Fellow to the American Academy of Nursing in 2018 and is the recipient of numerous international awards, including the ANCC Magnet International Nurse of the Year, the Delaware Nurse of the year, the International Association of Forensic Nurses Pioneer Award, and the 2014 Most Influential Marylanders/Healthcare. Mrs. Holbrook has authored grants totaling over 11 million dollars benefitting victims of major person’s crimes and lectures both nationally and internationally on violence related topics. She has conducted over 200 pediatric and adult SANE educational offerings.

 

Mrs. Holbrook has integrated comprehensive forensic practice into a Nursing model and her Programs have cared for all patients of interpersonal violence across the lifespan including domestic, institutional, vulnerable populations, gunshots, stabbings, non-accidental poisonings and burns. She has pioneered the use of the Alternate Light Source in strangulation cases and set precedence in International court systems. She is currently Director of Forensic Nursing at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore which coordinates care to victims of interpersonal violence for all hospitals in Baltimore City.

“The AFN embraces a collaborative spirit in forensic nursing through respect, education, leadership and research.“

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Kathy Bell, MS, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Ms. Bell education includes a diploma in Nursing from Hillcrest Medical Center ,1974, BSN from University of Oklahoma, 1996 and MS in Forensic Science 2002, from University of Central Oklahoma.

Ms. Bell joined the Tulsa Police Department in 1994. She provides the day to day operations management of the forensic nurse examiner programs. She is responsible for development of replication strategies and training programs that will facilitate other communities in providing forensic nurse examiner services. Ms. Bell is a forensic nurse, performing sexual assault, drug endangered children, domestic violence, and elder abuse examinations in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner of Adults and Adolescents and Pediatrics (SANE-A and SANE-P) by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. She is a member and Past-President of the International Association of Forensic Nurses. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and Oklahoma Nurses Association. She is a member of Academy on Violence and Abuse. She has participated on many task forces, advisory committees and forums regarding sexual assault, violence, and forensic nursing issues.

"Through scholarship, education, and service , AFN will be a leader in providing care, hope, and compassion to all persons touched by violence."

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Dr. Cathy Carter Snell, PhD, RN, SANE-A
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Dr. Cathy Carter-Snell is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Mount Royal University in Calgary. She has worked with victims of trauma since 1977, including Emergency, Intensive Care, flight teams, and has worked with sexual assault and domestic violence teams since 1998. Cathy is internationally certified as a sexual assault nurse examiner of adolescents and adults (SANE-A). She developed Mount Royal’s distance programs for both the Emergency nursing and Forensic studies and continues to teach the graduate level SANE course online through Continuing Education. She also teaches an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on violence across the lifespan. Her program of research is focused on prevention of violence or its’ consequences. She created the injury identification system called BALD STEP which is in the new RCMP sexual assault kit and international training. This Enhanced Emergency Sexual Assault Services (EESAS) program was developed from her research with smaller communities and has won a national award. The multidisciplinary program is now used in at least two provinces and is used by the Canadian Military nurses and military police. She is also involved in research on prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder in nursing students and graduates, male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence, a dating violence prevention program for university students, injury identification and prevention of mental illness after sexual assault and domestic violence. Cathy also is frequently called as an expert witness in provincial and federal courts on sexual assault injuries and examinations. She has won many awards for her forensic research and teaching including national nursing recognition as one of 100 nurses shaping nursing in Canada, a Sigma Theta Tau international dissertation award and recognition as one in 150 Canadians making a difference in mental health. 

“The AFN values and supports evidence informed research, education and practice so that all members may provide high quality holistic forensic care.”

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Teresa Devitt-Lynch, MSN, RN, ANF-BC, SANE-A

Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Teresa Devitt-Lynch, a native North Dakotan (GO BISON!), is the founder and CEO of INTREPID Forensic Healthcare Consulting, a dynamic consulting firm dedicated to forensic analysis of criminal cases involving abuse, sexual assault and other medical issues, providing expert testimony and educational offerings, located in Converse, TX. With over 20 years of nursing experience, she holds a master’s degree in nursing and is board certified in Advanced Forensic Nursing and Adult/Adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse Examinations. She is also a 20-yr veteran of the US Navy with a military nursing background in medical/surgical nursing, couplet care, ambulatory surgery, education and training, and forensic healthcare. While on active duty, Teresa was a Tri-Service Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiner Trainer and expert forensic nursing consultant for military courts martial proceedings in all military branches. She also served as the lead forensic examiner at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA and Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination Program Director at US Naval Hospital, Sigonella, IT. Teresa currently chairs the Adult Trauma and Domestic Violence Special Interest Group of the Academy of Forensic Nursing organization. She has steadily been engaged in multiple military and civilian organization, national and community-based initiatives aimed at fostering multidisciplinary collaboration and improving forensic healthcare in response to violent trauma. Working out of a home office for the past three years, Teresa has been able to form impenetrable bonds with her and her husband’s three dogs; who, now, don’t even know her husband still lives with them.

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Christine Foote-Lucero, MSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, SANE-P

Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Christine Foote-Lucero, has been a licensed Registered Nurse in Colorado for 18 years, with a focus on critical care.  She received a Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Creighton University in 2002 and a Masters of Science in Forensic Nursing in 2019.  For the past decade, she has worked as a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE). She currently manages the FNE team at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) in Aurora, CO where she developed a robust FNE orientation program as well as education and training for on-going FNE performance-based competencies, clinical skills exemplars, and high-fidelity simulations.  She has also created a Strangulation Pathway at UCH that serves as a clinical practice guideline for Emergency Providers. Her clinical experiences as a forensic nurse have included death investigation and correctional nursing, as well as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, physical assault, strangulation, elder abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking.

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Kristin Hall, BSN, RN, CEN
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Kristin Hall has worked in emergency medicine and critical care for the past 13 years.  She graduated from the paramedic program at Utah Valley University in 2008 and worked the next four years as a paramedic before obtaining an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing in 2010, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree at Westminster College in 2017.  She is currently enrolled in a Family Nurse Practitioner program through American Sentinel University. 

Since graduating as a nurse, Kristin has worked in the Emergency Departments of many Utah hospitals and became a Certified Emergency Nurse within her first year as a nurse.  She is an active member of the Emergency Nurses Association, serving as this year’s Government Affairs Chairperson of the Utah Chapter. She has worked as a forensic nurse for the the past 4 years, most recently working as the Clinical Director with the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center SANE program and is currently focused on expanding the practice of forensic nurses in Utah. 

In 2011, Kristin volunteered as an outreach member of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Team, a group that provides medical services to the people of Ghana, Africa.  She has continued her volunteer service here locally with Operation Underground Railroad, raising awareness in local communities and providing care to survivors of human trafficking.  She was part of an anti-trafficking education mission with OUR educating professionals in Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia. When not working or in school, Kristin enjoys traveling, scuba diving, hiking and spending time outdoors.”

“I am honored to be a part of the future of forensic nursing.  The AFN is primed with the experience, knowledge and bold thinking needed to create a great foundation for the nursing generations to come, forever changing the way we treat those patients affected by violence."

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Dr. Trinity Ingram-Jones, DNP, APRN, CPNP, PCNS, AFN-BC, SANE-A/P DF-AFN
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Dr. Trinity Ingram-Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Auburn University, and she earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with an emphasis in executive-level administration, a post-MSN certificate in Advanced Child Health (Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist), and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with an emphasis in clinical leadership from the University of South Alabama. She also completed post-doctoral training as a legal nurse consultant through the University of Georgia. Dr. Ingram-Jones is a board-​certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Forensic Nurse, and Pediatric, Adolescent, and Adult Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. 

 

Dr. Ingram-Jones is the owner of Ingram-Jones & Associates and the Executive Director of Serenity Hill, collectively referred to as "The Cottage," a free-standing, community-based, medical-forensic practice in Richmond Hill, GA, where she provides care to children who have suffered various forms of maltreatment, as well as adult sexual assault patients. For many years, she served as the medical-forensic representative to the Bryan and Liberty County Child Fatality Review Boards, and she coordinated Bryan County's Board from February 2015 until mid-June 2019. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Ingram-Jones is also an adjunct professor in a doctoral and graduate-level nurse practitioner program, and she has worked as an adjunct or full-time professor at colleges and universities across the country since 2004.

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Dr. Ingram-Jones is the President of the Georgia Association of Forensic Nurses, a Distinguished Fellow in the Academy of Forensic Nursing, a member of the Academy of Forensic Nursing Board of Directors, the webmaster for the Academy of Forensic Nursing, the President of Serenity Hill, Inc., and is the President of the Victoria Bristow Memorial EMS Scholarship Program. She was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in 2018, and she is a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. Dr. Ingram-Jones also served as the Secretary on the Founding Board of Directors for the Forensic Nursing Certification Board from 2017-2019. The co-author and reviewer of multiple books and other scholarly publications, Dr. Ingram-Jones is a frequently invited lecturer at professional conferences and training seminars at the local, state, national, and international levels. 

"The AFN promotes diversity and inclusivity in forensic nursing, while facilitating the development of scholarly forensic nursing practice that reflects a collaborative and multidisciplinary team approach to trauma and violence and promotes an evidence-based, patient-centered, trauma-informed model of care."

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Tamara Jackson, MSN, RN, SANE-A
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Tamara Jackson is a Board-Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for adults and adolescents. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing. She earned her Master’s degree from Chamberlain University in 2018.

 

Tamara is an innovative and driven nurse with over 20 years in the healthcare system. Over 15 years of experience with the emergency department. Tamara is the Regional SANE-Clinical Programs Coordinator of Amita Health Chicago Metro Region. She helped the organization build and complete policy and procedures, implement, educate, and advocate. Managing multiple sites within the organization with significant change integration, implementation of SANE Program. Development of policy and procedures, documentation tools, advanced practice techniques aligning with the state of Illinois Sexual Assault Emergency Treatment Act (SASETA), and promoting the incorporation of forensic photography in the documentation of sexual assault, sexual abuse, child abuse, and strangulation patients.

While assisting with leadership; she worked closely with other senior leadership nurses to ensure a smooth transition. She was instrumental in the organizations Strangulation Policy and procedure. She is leading the system and the community in her clinical practice for the identification of human trafficking, elderly abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse and assault.

 

“AFN offers the distinctive opportunity to build a diverse and high performing nurse as it endorses culture change while providing service, education and scholarship.”

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Dr. Annie Lewis-O'Connor, PhD, MPH, NP-BC, DF-IAFN, DF-AFN, FAAN
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Dr. Annie Lewis-O’Connor is a Board Certified Pediatric and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She is the Founder and Director of the C.A.R.E Clinic (Caring Approach to Resilience & Empowerment) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This clinic is committed to providing patient centered and trauma-informed health care to people who have been intentionally harmed by trauma, violence and abuse. Dr. Lewis-O’Connor addresses violence from four pillars: Research, Policy, Education, and Clinical perspectives.

 

Dr. Lewis-O’Connor is published in peer-reviewed journals and academic books on the topic of violence against women and children and the effects of trauma, violence and abuse on health. Her current research is focused on measuring Trauma-Informed Care models of care in health care settings and exploration of best ‘screening’ (inquiry) methods for trauma, violence and abuse. 

Since 2012, Dr. Lewis-O'Connor has served as one of the Chairs of the Partners HealthCare Trauma- Informed Care Initiative. She has served in a number of leadership rolls, including Chair of the National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse, President of Nursing Network on Violence Against Women, President of local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, International, and is currently incoming Chair of the Expert Panel on Violence at the American Academy of Nursing. Since 2010 she has served on the Executive Board of Casa Myrna Vasquez, the oldest and longest standing shelter in Massachusetts for women and children. She has served on the Board of EQUALHEALTH (www.equalhealth.org) since 2013. In 2012 she was awarded as a Health Care Champion by the Boston Business Journal recognizing her efforts to mitigate the health consequences of violence and trauma. In 2014 Dr. Lewis-O’Connor was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing. She is recognized as a Distinguished Fellow with the International Association of Forensic Nurses and in the Academy of Forensic Nurses. Annie enjoys the outdoors, traveling, gardening and above all- spending quality time with her family, children, grandchildren and friends.  She received her Master’s in Nursing from Simmons College in Boston, a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and her PhD from Boston College.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Academy of Forensic Nursing that strives towards scholarship, evidence based practice, and building sustainable programs with colleagues nationally and internationally."

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Dr. Sandra W. Nichols, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, GWP-BC, PHMNP-BC
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Dr. Sandra Nichols was initially educated as a Registered Nurse (RN), nurse educator, and a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at Florida State University. She subsequently graduated from the West Virginia University’s School of Medicine’s Emergency Medicine Certificate Program and the Northern Kentucky University’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. Dr. Nichols is board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Family Nurse Practitioner, a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, and a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She was inducted in Sigma Theta Tau, the National Honor Society for Nurses, in 2006.

 The first few years of her career, Dr. Nichols worked as an RN and then as an NP in North Florida and South Georgia. For almost 13 years, she provided healthcare services to patients of all ages in multiple Emergency Department settings. As a doctoral-prepared nurse educator, Dr. Nichols taught graduate level nursing research courses and served as the directing faculty member for several master’s theses and doctoral dissertations over the years. Currently, she precepts NP students for several universities, and she thoroughly enjoys training future NP’s and researchers. Dr. Nichols also works with attorneys as a legal nurse consultant, and she is a member of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

 

“AFN offers HOPE to all nurses when dealing with the many psychiatric issues of our patients.”

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Dr. Angelia Trujillo, DNP, MSN, WHNP-BC, DF-AFN
Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Angelia Trujillo is an Associate Professor with the University of Alaska Anchorage, School of Nursing. Dr. Trujillo has worked in the field of interpersonal violence, sexual assault, and public health for approximately 15 years. Dr. Trujillo obtained her Women's Health Nurse Practitioner certification from Frontier Nursing University in 2017, obtained her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a focus on Forensic Nursing in 2008 from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and also holds a Master’s of Science – Advanced Community Health Nursing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Trujillo currently practices as a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and has worked as a forensic nurse examiner with experience working with adult, adolescent and child sexual assault victims.

“The Academy seeks to provide forensic nurses and our interdisciplinary partners with a forum to promote leadership, education and service to communities and individuals who have been affected by violence; focusing on collaboration and eliminating silos.”

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Virginia Lynch, MS, RN - AFN Global Ambassador
Global Ambassador, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Virginia A. Lynch is recognized as the preeminent scholar and founder of forensic nursing as a scientific discipline. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Texas Christian University (TCU) in 1982 where she was introduced to the forensic sciences through a clinical assignment. This project took her into the wider world of interpersonal crime and the scientific investigation of death. Her first experience in a crime laboratory refocused her professional interest, putting forensic and nursing science at the center of her career. This encounter inspired her to learn more about the forensic sciences and its application to nursing practice. She learned that many interpersonal crimes are never properly adjudicated, often due to loss of evidence by health care personnel that was inadvertently discarded or improperly preserved and secured after collection.

Lynch recognized the need for nurses to be enlightened about the precise preservation and relevance of forensic evidence. The revelation eventually motivated her to her to establish a Rape Crisis Program in a rural Texas county and to pursue practice changes which would ultimately lead to a new nursing specialty aimed at improving health and legal outcomes for victims of violence. She was recognized as a Notable Woman of Texas for her work in 1985. Following graduation from TCU she pursued her Master of Science in Nursing in the clinical specialization of forensic nursing, a program she was instrumental in designing at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) College of Nursing. During graduate studies at UTA she was credentialed as a Sexual Assault Forensic Nurse Examiner.

In 1984, Lynch served as a medicolegal death investigator for the Tarrant–Parker County Medical Examiner's District in Fort Worth, Texas. She studied advanced death investigation in 1990 at the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), later becoming a certified coroner in the state of Georgia in 1992. This experience broadened her perspectives about potential contributions of nurses in innovative forensic roles and has subsequently become an advocate for the role of forensic nurse death investigator (FNDI). In 1993, Lynch accepted a faculty position at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs to coordinate a MSN forensic nursing program and developed the first course in human rights for forensic nurses. In 2000, she launched a global outreach program in forensic nursing science involving teaching, consulting and social advocacy. Virginia was elected to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (1986), which ask her to define the discipline of forensic nursing and was honored as a Distinguished Fellow in 2018. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. As founding president (1993-1996) of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) one of her most rewarding tributes has been the establishment of the Virginia A. Lynch Pioneer Award, which the IAFN presents annually to a member who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the forensic nursing specialty.

Virginia’s expertise is sought globally, taking her to more than 30 countries as a visiting professor and independent consultant in addition to participation in numerous global consortiums and conferences. Her international involvement in forensic nursing has included a Fulbright Fellowship in global health at Punjabi University in India. A frequent lecturer and prolific writer including the seminal text, “Forensic Nursing” published by Elsevier in 2006 and with a second edition published in 2010. This book was acclaimed as the “most significant scholarly/professional contribution to nursing and allied health” for the year 2006 by the American Association of Publishers, Inc. Lynch’s recent work includes ensuring the proliferation of forensic nursing by helping to build forensic nursing programs as she lectures, conducts workshops, and serves as a consultant to professional societies and universities while she inspires and mentors the next generation of forensic nurses.

Virginia indicates that the greatest challenge in the advancement of forensic nursing is the lack of specialty educational opportunities in both graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. Healthcare organizations and community agencies have not fully appreciated the potential value of forensic nursing’s contributions for client services, and a result, there is insufficient funding for forensic support services and related staff positions.

"To foster further growth and development of forensic nursing, the needs include strong legislative mandates, healthcare regulatory requirements, and social advocacy. The demand for services of nurses with forensic expertise is great as we confront clinical issues related to global human violence."

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Dr. William Smock, MD, MS, DF-AFN
Honorary Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Dr. Bill Smock is the Police Surgeon and directs the Clinical Forensic Medicine Program for the Louisville Metro Police Department in Louisville, Kentucky. Bill graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1990 and completed a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Louisville in 1993. In 1994 he became the first physician in the United States to complete a post-graduate forensic fellowship in Clinical Forensic Medicine with the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office. Dr. Smock then joined the faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville and in 2005 he was promoted to the rank of full professor. Dr. Smock currently serves as a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and is Chair of the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention’s National Medical Advisory Committee. Bill has edited 3 textbooks on clinical forensic medicine and published more than 40 chapters and articles on forensic and emergency medicine. He is an internationally recognized forensic expert and trains forensic nurses, physicians, law enforcement officers, attorneys and judges in multiple fields including: reconstruction of officer-involved shootings, felony strangulation investigation and prosecution, the forensic evaluation of gunshot wounds, forensic toxicology, injury mechanisms and the reconstruction of motor vehicle trauma.

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Gael Strack, Esq, DF-AFN
Honorary Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Gael B. Strack is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Alliance for HOPE International. Programs of the Alliance include: National Family Justice Center Alliance, Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, Camp HOPE America, Justice Legal Network and VOICES Survivor Network. Prior to launching Alliance for Hope International with Casey Gwinn, Gael served as the Founding Director of the San Diego Family Justice Center from October 2002 through May 2007. In that capacity, she worked closely with 25 on-site agencies (government and non-profit) who came together in 2002 to provide services to victims of domestic violence and their children in one location. The San Diego Family Justice Center was featured on Oprah in January 2003, was recognized as a model program by President Bush and was the inspiration for the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative launched in October 2003.

Prior to her work at the Family Justice Center, Gael was a prosecutor at the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. She joined the office in 1987 and served in many capacities including Head Deputy City Attorney responsible for the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Unit. Gael has also worked as a Deputy Public Defender and a Deputy County Counsel for the San Diego County Counsel’s office handling juvenile dependency matters. She graduated from Western State College of Law in December 1985.


Gael is a former board member of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, former President of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and former commissioner of the ABA’s Commission on Domestic Violence. In her spare time, Gael is an adjunct law professor for California Western School of Law where she teaches “Domestic Violence and the Law.” Gael has been honored with numerous awards, including San Diego Attorney of the Year for 2006, and was the 2010 Recipient of the National Crime Victim Service Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services by United States Attorney General Eric Holder.


Gael has also co-authored a series of strangulation articles and five books with Casey Gwinn, JD, on the Family Justice Center movement.

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Barbra Bachmeier, JD, MSN, APRN, NP-C, DF-AFN, FAEN
Founding Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Barbra Bachmeier is a family nurse practitioner and advanced practice forensic nurse examiner at IU Health – Methodist Hospital and a solo attorney in which her practice focuses is in the areas of Guardian Ad Litem and Guardianships in Indianapolis, IN. Barb’s nursing career began in 1982 as a licensed practical nurse at Trinity Medical Center in Minot, ND. From there, she has worked as a staff nurse, nurse practitioner, and an advanced practice forensic nurse examiner. She completed a clinical ethics fellowship in 2013 at Charles W. Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics - IU Health. In 2015, Barb received the National Emergency Nursing Association Nurses Practice and Professionalism Award and inducted as a Fellow in the Academy of Emergency Nursing (AEN) in 2018. Barb was one of the original members of the Academy of Forensic Nursing. She proudly served and retired as a lieutenant colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army National Guard.

"The Academy of Forensic Nursing is a home and an institution for mentorship not only for forensic nurses, but all nurses and inter-professions who work with those affected by and responding to trauma. AFN promotes evidenced-based education and collegial relationships with all professions who support the mission and growth of AFN and forensic nursing."

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Dr. Kathleen Gill-Hopple, PhD, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, AFN-BC, DF-AFN
Founding Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Kathy Gill-Hopple, PhD, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P received her doctorate from the University of Nebraska (2010), Masters of Science in Nursing with a focus in women’s health from Wichita State University (1994), and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University (1980). Dr. Gill-Hopple has worked in the women’s health field for 27 years as a clinician and educator.

In Wichita, Kansas she was on the nursing faculty at Kansas Newman University and Wichita State University teaching women’s health maternal child care. She later became the Director of the Forensic Nursing Services at Via Christi Regional Medical Center, where she founded Healthcare Haven for victims of juvenile human trafficking. This program was the first of its kind to provide immediate healthcare services to victims in a multi-disciplinary format.

Since 2012, Dr. Gill-Hopple has managed the Forensic Nursing Service program at the Medical University of South Carolina, overseeing the day to day management as well as grant-writing, orientation, on-going education, multi-disciplinary training, consultation and direct clinical care. At MUSC, she developed the first multidisciplinary review team to address intimate partner violence policies, procedures and clinical care, resulting in a 24 hour forensic nurse/social work response in the Emergency Department. Dr. Gill-Hopple founded the South Carolina Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Education Network, which provides education, clinical training and technical assistance to hospitals in South Carolina seeking to develop an improved response the sexual and intimate partner violence.

Dr. Gill-Hopple has received extensive training in intimate partner violence, strangulation, forensic interviewing and is a member of numerous task forces and teams addressing issues of sexual violence, intimate partner violence and human trafficking. She is a frequent expert witness, invited lecturer to nursing and medical students, emergency service providers, law enforcement agencies and is the lead instructor in the adult and pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner courses in South Carolina.

“Mentorship of new forensic nurses, promotion of evidence based practice, enhanced scholarship of our field sets the AFN apart.”

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Dr. Stacey Mitchell, DNP, MBA, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN

Founding Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

A member of Sigma Theta Tau, International, Dr. Mitchell holds a Doctorate in Forensic Nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Her Master’s Degree in Nursing has a focus in trauma and forensic nursing from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Dr. Mitchell’s bachelor’s degree is in Nursing from the Medical College of Virginia. Her nursing career spans over twenty-five years with experience in critical care, emergency nursing, forensic nursing, and risk management.

Dr. Mitchell began her forensic nursing career as the coordinator of the Forensic Nurse Examiners of St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. She has served as a Director at Large for two terms, Treasurer, President- Elect and President on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN).

Dr. Mitchell held the position of Deputy Chief Forensic Nurse Investigator at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office in Houston, Texas, for six years. From 2008 to 2017, she was the Administrative Director of Forensic Nursing Services and Risk Management and Patient Safety for the Harris Health System. Currently, she is a Clinical Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Forensic Health Care Program at Texas A&M University College of Nursing.

In October 2017, Dr. Mitchell was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. In 2015, Dr. Mitchell was honored as one of the Top 20 Outstanding Nurses by the Texas Nurses Association District 9. She also received the Virginia Lynch Pioneer in Forensic Nursing award that year. Dr. Mitchell is a frequent invited speaker at both domestic and international nursing conferences and training seminars, and she is regularly called upon to provide expert testimony regarding forensic nursing, sexual assault, child abuse, child sexual abuse, and trauma.

“ AFN leadership represents over 500 years in nursing and 240 years in Forensic Nursing science and practice. “

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Dr. Patricia M. Speck, DNSc, APN, FNP-BC, DF-IAFN, FAAFS, DF-AFN, FAAN
Founding Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Patricia M. Speck graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing in 1982, 1985, and 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, a Master of Science degree in Nursing, and a Doctor of Nursing Science degree respectively. After retiring from UTHSC College of Nursing as the Public Health Nursing and Forensic Nursing Concentration Coordinator, she joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing in the Department of Community Health, Outcomes, and Systems. Currently Dr. Speck is a Professor and Coordinator of the graduate Advanced Forensic Nursing program, serving on the DNP and PhD faculty. She is internationally recognized as a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (1984-present) and expert in advanced forensic nursing care of patients experiencing an intersection with the legal system. She is the past-president of IAFN (2004-5), is the recipient of over 25 awards, and received the lifetime Professional Impact Award from End Violence Against Women International in 2017. Dr. Speck consults nationally and internationally with governments, universities, institutions, and non-governmental organizations to evaluate and implement infrastructure change in response to violence. As a forensic nursing practice expert and active researcher, Dr. Speck develops policy, evaluates programs and builds workforce capacity through publication, education, and violence prevention initiatives.

“AFN strives to link research to practice through dissemination of scholarship through education and service to those affected by and responding to trauma.”

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Dr. Kathleen S. Thimsen, DrNP, MSN, RN, WOCN/CETN, FNE, DF-AFN
Founding Board Member, Academy of Forensic Nursing

Kathleen S. Thimsen has her Bachelor's and Master's degree from Webster University, St. Louis, MO. She earned her doctorate in nursing practice from Regis University in Denver, CO. Dr. Thimsen is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes Jewish College in St. Louis, Missouri where she teaches Public and Community Health. Kathleen specialized in wound management in 1979 and had a private clinical practice that provided consultations to hospitals, home care and skilled nursing facilities in five mid-western states. She also developed a national "subject matter expert consultation" service that led her to be introduced to the speciality of Forensic Nursing. Her clinical practice in Forensics is related to elder abuse, injury identification and human trafficking. Working in Public Health for over 18 years, Kathleen is one of the founding members of the Human Trafficking Collaborative Network that is housed within the Washington University Institute of Public Health. Kathleen leads the Health Care Systems and Community Partnership working groups to advance evidence based practice clinical identification, response and care of victims of human trafficking. She completed a Forensic Certificate at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore,. MD. Her research is focused on vulnerable populations, health care disparities and all forms of interpersonal violence and prevention.

“AFN offers opportunity to all forensic nurses and interprofessional colleagues to have a voice, be heard and make a contribution to reducing the impact of violence in our society.”

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Academy of Forensic Nursing

PO Box 179402

St. Louis, MO 63117-1645

Email: afn@afnmail.org

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