Collaboration between UTHCT nurse practitioner, UT Tyler counselor leads to award for sexual assault prevention program

Monday, April 23, 2007

A nurse practitioner at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and a licensed professional counselor at The University of Texas at Tyler have been honored by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault for their efforts to create a proactive sexual assault prevention and response program on campus.

Kerry Scruggs, RN, and Kimberly Harvey-Livingston, MS, received the 2006 Innovative Program of the Year Award from TAASA in March for founding the Campus Assault Response Effort (CARE) program at The University of Texas at Tyler. The award recognizes extraordinary individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to eliminate sexual violence in Texas.

Scruggs, an adult nurse practitioner at the University Health Clinic, founded the program in early 2005. She has been working with Livingston in the Office of Wellness and Prevention at UT Tyler since early 2006.

"Kerry Scruggs is an example of a highly motivated nursing professional who has a passion for excellence. She identified a segment of the community that was underserved and developed a program to meet the needs of this group. Her passion has inspired others to join her in creating this first-of-its-kind program for college students, which can be implemented on campuses throughout the country. She is truly a pioneer. We are honored that she is a member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler health care staff," said UTHSCT Vice President for Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer Kleanthe Caruso.

"Kim Harvey-Livingston is a key member of our professional student counseling center and has played a significant role in the development of the CARE program from the counseling perspective. The CARE program is an educationally sound and student-focused prevention and response program that will be a valuable addition to our campus’ proactive stance on sexual abuse," said Dr. Howard Patterson, assistant vice president for student affairs at UT Tyler.

A licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas, Harvey-Livingston has more than 10 years’ experience in various counseling settings, including area crisis centers. Her position at UT Tyler includes coordinating wellness and prevention programs, such as peer education programs that focus on student education and awareness related to sexual assault, campus violence, alcohol and other drugs, and sexual responsibility.

CARE is a proactive on-campus program that includes aggressive ongoing education and prevention efforts for students, faculty, and staff, along with coordinated intervention efforts in the event of a sexual assault. Collaboration between law enforcement, medical personnel, and counselors improves the services provided to the sexual assault victim and lessens the potential for further harm to the victim.

In spring 2008, CARE will be the first program in the state to offer forensic exams to students on a university campus. Scruggs is a certified sexual assault nurse examiner in the state of Texas. Plans are to expand the program to address domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, hazing and celebratory violence.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.