The Tulsa Institute for Trauma Abuse and Neglect
The Tulsa Institute for Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect [TITAN] brings together the interests, expertise, and talents of transdiciplinary faculty members across the university to address the complex issues related to traumatic experiences (e.g., disaster, violence against women, child abuse, crime victimization, mass violence) in partnership with the Tulsa community. TITAN member and McFarlin Chair of Psychology, Elana Newman, Ph.D., states she “enjoys the opportunity to consider issues from multiple disciplinary frames, translate jargon across fields, and find more comprehensive ways to understand and help survivors.” "I am looking forward to utilizing the results of work done in TITAN in the education of our nursing students to improve the level of care provided to trauma patients" states Kathleen Strunk, RN, CNS, Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing.
TITAN was recently awarded funding from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology to longitudinally examine the aftermath of sexual assault. According to the Principle Investigator, Joanne Davis, Ph.D., the study will assess the ”relationship between victimization and psychological health, the effectiveness of a brief video-based psychological intervention, genetic markers as vulnerabilities to posttraumatic stress, and participants’ satisfaction with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner [SANE] program.”
Previous studies have shown that the brief psychological intervention used for this study can be successful in reducing the distress level and drug use of survivors, in addition to the costs associated with post-assault treatment. However, genotypic vulnerabilities to posttraumatic stress disorder have yet to be fully studied. This study may be an important step in identifying candidate genes, such as serotonin transporters, that contribute to the prevention of long-term effects of sexual assault and the provision and responsiveness of interventions. In doing so, it is possible that the physical and psychological health of survivors will be improved. Findings from this research project will be disseminated to our community partner, SANE, so that they are able to use the data to make evidence based decisions about their program. “Over the past 20 years there has been little study into the effectiveness of SANE services. This research will afford evidence based guidance into the nursing care offered to victims of rape in Tulsa and surrounding areas”, says Kathy Bell, RN, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Tulsa Police Department. In addition, the information will be presented at local, regional, and national conferences.