William Beaumont Army Medical Center Forensic Examiners gather for a photograph Aug.8 at the WBAMC Chapel. Forensic Examiners specializes in the care of survivors who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse.( | Photo by Vincent Byrd, WBAMC Public Affairs
FORT BLISS – Unfortunately, in the past two years, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military have been a main topic. William Beaumont Army Medical Center Forensic Healthcare Program (FHP) offers beneficiaries the care and assistance they need during this sensitive time, if they become a victim of these circumstances.
The Defense Health Agency created the Forensic Healthcare Program (FHP) to formalize medical forensic services offered by the military treatment facility. These services include the medical and forensic management of violent crimes, sexual assault, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, strangulation, and child sexual abuse.
A forensic examiner specializes in the care of survivors who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Letty Sprinkle, forensic healthcare program manager at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, explains the program.
“We take care of our patients medically as needed. First and foremost, the evidence collection is secondary to this. An examiner must be available 24/7 to provide the services needed. We also collaborate with behavioral health, law enforcement investigators, crime labs, and attorneys. We offer care for adult, adolescent and pediatric patients, active duty, dependents, and possibly employees,” said Sprinkle.
Sprinkle said they make sure patients have the best opportunity to begin their recovery journey.
According to Sprinkle, anyone who has a medical license can become a medical forensic examiner, including registered nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians. The course consists of online training for one week and another week with hands-on clinical training.
Sprinkle commented on how the FHP blends with 1st Armored Division’s Operation Ironclad. Operation Ironclad began in February 2021 and is a coordinated effort to rebuild trust and confidence by eliminating sexual assault and sexual harassment, suicide, and extremism.
“Operation Ironclad is a concentrated effort to combat harmful behaviors through sustained and practical engagement. Everyone in the military community is valued, and the Forensic Healthcare Program at our facility joins this commitment by providing medical-forensic services and resources to assist victims of harmful behaviors in our community in their recovery. We also collaborate with law enforcement and the Judge Advocate General office. This joint venture helps eradicate corrosive, harmful behaviors as appropriate,” said Sprinkle.
Sprinkle said, while incorporating the people-first initiative and Operation Ironclad, the forensic staff make sure that the community needs come first.
“We are one of two facilities in the Fort Bliss footprint that offers the Medical Forensic Exam Program,” said Sprinkle.
For more information about William Beaumont Army Medical Center Forensic Exam Program, call 915-742-3424 or 915-892-8863. Victims who call the program can obtain advice and guidance on medical forensic care.
Victims or persons who know of a victim can also call the Sexual Assault DoD SafeHelpline at 877-995-5247, which provides live, confidential help over the phone.
The helpline staff can even transfer callers to installation/base Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Coordinators, Military OneSource, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and civilian sexual assault service providers.