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FNN President's Corner
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FNN President's Corner

Welcome to the President's Corner



Liz Louden RN, BN, MSN, SANE -A

Holiday Season, 2017

Dear Members;

       We, again, have reached the conclusion of another year, as we do every 12 months. This is the time where some take the opportunity to consider what transpired both personally and professionally over the previous year. Others look to making this time for family and friends. The usual holiday message contains wishes of good will, health, wealth, happiness, peace on earth and this I wish for each of you. I do, however want to acknowledge and send specific wishes to not only those who have had success, but those who have struggled over the past year, recognizing that not everyone has the benefit of support, family, good health and good fortune.     

          I, along with the members of the Board, have spent the past year proudly representing this organization, as we connect with others passionate in the cause to address the scourge of violence in its many forms, across both the lifespan and the globe. I was fortunate to be included and welcomed in symposiums, planning meetings and conferences in both Canada and the US by several organizations including Justice Canada, the Nursing Alliance, the Emergency Nurses Association (USA), the National Emergency Nurses Association (Canada), the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Senate, the Canadian Embassy in Washington, the Nursing Service Organization, and the World Health Organization. Your board members and staff were kept busy with new and continued relationships with partner associations as all were faced with the challenging demands of the current political climate.  It was a busy, educational and informative year as IAFN reached out and was acknowledged as the leading authority on Forensic Nursing. With that acknowledgment came the realization that we, having come so far, still have much to do.

     Along with our membership, it highlighted ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This family of Forensic Nurses holds its members close, supports and comforts those in need. You each are an inspiration and your lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Theresa, who once said: “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”. The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift to be given as well as received, and that love begins small but always grows.
       With that in mind, I would like to wish all of you the continued love and support from your family, friends and colleagues. May the warmth and messages of good health, prosperity and success accompany you throughout the coming year, providing a foundation for the excellent care you provide.

         Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and all the very best in the New Year; from my family to yours. Hold your loved ones close, embrace the strength and leadership that enables your practice and know your work is not only important and necessary, but always appreciated.  


Liz Louden
IAFN President 2017

Forensic Nurses Week Update

Dear IAFN Members;


             The annual celebration of Forensic Nurses Week is upon us and it is appropriate to take this time to honor you.
              While we know the extreme skill, knowledge, and expertise that each of you demonstrate each and every day, we also remember the compassion, empathy and commitment extended to those who cross your path.
                Take this time to renew, recharge and bask in the glow of acknowledgement. Display that pride as an affirmation of ones’ self and the community as a whole. Celebrate your peers as this work that is hard, fulfilling, and equally demanding as rewarding, is shared in each task, achievement and experience by each forensic nurse, worldwide.

Admiration to each and every one of you,



“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
                                            Ralph Waldo Emerson


October 22, 2017 Update

Dear IAFN Members;


                          The advent of Fall has passed, and sadly, so has our annual conference, this year held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I say sadly, as while this event traditionally brings us closer together, it is always bittersweet to say goodbye.

              The energy of new connection and reconnection was palpable in the session rooms and in the corridors, as members, new and old joined with their colleagues to learn, share and sip from the cup of deep support so selflessly offered by all those who work in this field. It never fails to inspire me as I observe and partake of the many gifts conference has to offer.

               This year proved no exception, from the outstanding opening keynote who had everyone laughing and singing (quite the accomplishment at 10 am), to the exceptional educational sessions offered throughout the four days. Awards were given, the opportunity to speak with Board members was taken advantage of, old friendships were rekindled and new ones made. Conference is a time of rebirth and acknowledgement of the tremendous spirit, passion and dedication shown by our members each and every day. This year’s event accomplished that in abundance.

               Gratitude and deep appreciation to all those who made this event what it was, especially the IAFN staff, and the 2017 Conference Planning Committee.

Thank you,





September 20, 2017 Update

Dear IAFN Members;


             As Friday’s fall equinox approaches, so does the annual celebration of the International Association of Forensic Nurses annual conference on Forensic Nursing Science and Practice, a mere two weeks away!

             While I would like to encourage each of you to join us, and look forward to meeting all of you, I also would like to congratulate one of our very own, who will be recognized at this year’s conference with the inaugural Visionary Award from the membership of the Canadian Forensic Nurses Association (CFNA).

               Sheila Early, fondly referred to as the “Mother of Canadian Forensic Nurses”, has been chosen to receive this honor bestowed by those wishing to acknowledge the tremendous dedication and outstanding contribution by a tireless forensic nurse whose main desire is to provide our patients with a faultless, progressive standard of care. Her ability to raise awareness, provide momentum for change, and support for every nurse she touches is unparalleled. Sheila’s list of accomplishments and previous awards speak to a lifetime of passion and commitment with unwavering enthusiasm.

                 It is my distinct pleasure to not only applaud Sheila for her passionate determination, but to deeply thank her for everything she has done and continues to do.

In admiration;







September 2017 Update

Dear Members;


This past month has been one of upheaval and uncertainty as the Charlottesville, VA riots took place and now the nation watches as survivors of Hurricane Harvey begin their long recovery process.


             I know I speak for the entire membership, Board and staff of the International Association of Forensic Nurses when I reiterate that we stand firmly in solidarity and support of victims of violence everywhere.  As forensic nurses, we embrace diversity and inclusion.  It is critical if we hope to effectively care for our patients. 


             We send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the hurricane, knowing that many of our members are either affected by the flooding, supporting and assisting others, or both. I encourage all of our members to donate to the organization of their choice to support those who have lost their homes, belongings, and so much more.


              We are an organization of strength, of empathy and compassion. Our members rise to each occasion with unfailing dedication and passion. For that we are proud and grateful to have all of you representing the field of Forensic Nursing.


 Best wishes to you all in the work that you do and solidarity in making our world a better, less violent place.




August 2017 Update

Dear IAFN Members;

Learn about IAFN's SANE 365 campaign. The clock is ticking...

Forensic nurses make a difference. You, our members, make a difference.


In keeping with that theme, the most recent edition of Medscape Nursing featured (at the very top of the page!), one of our own, in an article on the profile of forensic nursing.  This is part of a series of first-person accounts of what it's like to be a nurse in a nontraditional role with the goal of providing inspiration to those seeking a new path within nursing.

 Check it out:


        Additionally, and as many of you are aware, sexual assault care has been all over the news.  In an effort to promote SANE, and when there is no SANE, to ensure a minimum standard of care, IAFN has designed tools to identify the responsibilities of the health care system when it comes to sexually assaulted and abused patients. We know that right now, patients who have been sexually assaulted, are being turned away from hospitals with no SANE, despite the fact that it is the hospital’s duty to properly care for the patient. With the SANE 365 campaign, you can strengthen your facility’s ability to provide the highest level of care to sexual assault and abuse patients.

         The SANE 365 campaign is designed to help develop or strengthen sexual assault medical forensic services in communities that need assistance.  Knowing that it can still be a challenge to talk to facility administrators about ways to strengthen support for patients, IAFN created SANE 365 to highlight and support hospitals in understanding their responsibility in the care of patients who have experienced sexual violence. Take a look at the SANE 365 Campaign and please use these resources to your advantage in your community.

            You can also help us gather data. Participate in (or better yet, get the ED staff in your community hospital to participate in) our two question SANE 365 survey to help us gather more data about access to sexual assault care in Emergency Departments.

          Always remember that ongoing support is available: Contact IAFN with any questions or needs you may have. We know that some communities do not have the resources to fully support a SANE program. If this is the case in your community, IAFN can design education that meets your needs as well as the needs of the sexual assault patients you serve.

Contact us today to discuss your needs at


Yours in Health,



July 2017 Update

I would like to congratulate the IAFN award winners;

Jana French, 2017 Virginia A. Lynch Pioneer in Forensic Nursing
Annie Lewis-O'Connor, 2017 Distinguished Fellow Award
Christy Alexander, 2017 Front Line Forensic Nurse of the Year Award
Jocelyn Anderson, 2017 Ann Burgess Research Award
Paula Broom, 2017 Patron Award
Gina Carbino, 2017 Service Award

Their dedication, enthusiasm and insight are so inspiring and deserving of this recognition. Please join me in appreciation of their tireless energy, creativity and contribution to our work.
My deepest thanks to the Awards Committee for their deliberations and thoughtfulness in selecting this year’s winners.  

IAFN Elections 2017
I would like to encourage potential leaders to complete an application to fill several vital volunteer leadership positions in the current nomination period, ending July 31st.

Volunteer leaders possess the qualities and experience necessary to:
•    Advance the profession and the organization through strategic vision and plan development;
•    Expand organizational collaboration with key partners and stakeholders;
•    Identify and develop solutions to the challenges facing forensic nurses; and
•    Maintain ethical and fiscal responsibility for the organization.

IAFN values and seeks diverse leadership as defined by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, geographic location, and professional practice level. The application process is easy. Additional resources and job descriptions are available now Please consider this, as we need and welcome your energy and innovative ideas!

Our annual conference is only 11 weeks away! The Planning Committee has organized an amazing opportunity for members and non-members alike, to meet, share, learn and enjoy. We look forward to the camaraderie, partnerships, friendships and making new memories during our annual scientific gathering. We hope you will join us for IAFN’s 25th anniversary as we celebrate in the beautiful city of Toronto!

I would also like to take a moment to sincerely thank the staff of IAFN, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to move the strategic plan into operation, maintain partnerships even as they assist us in developing new ones, and ensure a path for future projects. We could not do our jobs without the certainty that you are effectively doing yours!



Liz Louden RN, BN, MSN, SANE -A
President 2017
International Association of Forensic Nurses


July 2017 Update - Joye E. Frost - Champion Award

As part of our Lobby Day this April, IAFN honored one of our federal partners that has championed the work of forensic nurses.  To support lasting governmental relationships, the inaugural Champion Award was presented to Joye E. Frost, Director, Office For Victims of Crime (Retired in December 2016).

Ms. Frost served as the Director for OVC until 2016. During her previous tenure as OVC's Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director, she launched the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services initiative to expand the reach and impact of the victim assistance field. She forged closer ties with State Victims of Crime Act administrators and championed the integration of innovation with research in OVC’s efforts to build capacity in the field. She fostered a groundbreaking partnership between OVC and the Department of Defense to strengthen support to military victims of sexual assault, and greatly expanded OVC’s work to assist victims in Indian Country. She was instrumental in the development of OVC's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and Sexual Assault Response Team Training and Technical Assistance initiatives and spearheaded a number of OVC projects to identify and serve victims of crime with disabilities. She also implemented and oversees a discretionary grant program to fund comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking.

Linda Ledray noted that: “She has made significant contributions to the growth of forensic nursing in the US. Since her first days at OVC nearly twenty years ago as a new grant manager through her retirement as the Director of OVC Joye has provided extremely valuable support to the development and growth of forensic nursing. As a new grant manager she was assigned to oversee a grant to develop a manual to facilitate SANE program development.  Little did she know when she got this assignment that it was the beginning of a full career that would involve facilitating the development of this model.”

Below, please find, a thank you from Ms. Frost.

Dear IAFN Staff, Board & members,

Thank you for honoring me with your "Champion" award on April 4th. It is such an honor to be recognized as a helpful federal partner who supports the incredible work of forensic nurses & IAFN.

I received the lovely crystal clock award with the engraving recognizing the award.

It’s absolutely beautiful & will serve as a reminder of some of my most meaningful work at the Office for Victims of Crime.

Thanks again & thank you for all that you do to support sexual assault victims.

Warm regards.

Joye Frost



Yours in Health,

Liz Louden RN, BN, MSN, SANE -A
President 2017
International Association of Forensic Nurses


May 2017 Update - International Nurses Day

May 12th, 2017, International Nurses Day, is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. One hundred and ninety-seven years later, we find her principles continue to lead and guide the nursing profession around the globe.

Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS); is this year’s theme chosen by the International Council of Nurses (ICN).
The 17 goals identified are as follows:


•    No poverty
•    Zero hunger, improved nutrition
•    Good health and well being
•    Quality education
•    Gender equality
•    Clean water and sanitation
•    Affordable and clean energy
•    Decent work and economic growth
•    Industry innovation and infrastructure
•    Reduced inequalities
•    Sustainable cities and communities
•    Responsible consumption and production
•    Climate action
•    Life below water
•    Life on the land
•    Peace, justice and strong institutions
•    Partnership for the goals

I am pleased to note that while this year’s toolkit contains something for every nurse to promote awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by each of us -  challenges that are globally similar, it also acknowledges the common myth that we all need to do more, blithely ignoring the tremendous accomplishments nurses achieve every day under less than optimal conditions. While none of us would believe our tasks are complete, it’s time to celebrate: what we do, how we do it and the differences we make. It’s the right thing to do; as we care for others, we also care for each other and ourselves.

Promotion of the 17 SDGS’s is within our scope of practice; as we prove each day that change is possible through awareness, education, empathy and compassion.
I raise a toast to each of my fellow nurses on this, our day of acknowledgment and hope that all of you feel honored and celebrated for the work that you do.

Please note the link to the message from the ICN for the 2017 International Nurses Day below:


Nurses: A Voice to Lead Achieving the SDGS


Yours in Health,

Liz Louden RN, BN, MSN, SANE -A
President 2017
International Association of Forensic Nurses


February 2017 Update


Dear IAFN Members:

As I connect with and meet so many of you, I am reminded of the strength in partnership when we work to achieve common goals. This year it is more important than ever that we be able to articulate our message: all patients deserve access to forensic nurses.

Let me encourage and welcome you to our upcoming Leadership and Lobby Days this April. Learn how to craft your message. Learn how to use your voice. Register today.

Leadership and Lobby Days are a wonderful opportunity to learn, connect and feel empowered. I hope that you all consider the event, as one of a kind, with the chance to network, a window for learning and achievement.

Please join us
April 3rd and 4th on Capitol Hill.

Liz Louden RN, BN, MSN, SANE -A
President 2017
International Association of Forensic Nurses


January 2017 Update


Dear IAFN Members:

I would like to join in wishing you a very Happy New Year. For those of you who do not yet know me personally, I am Canadian, live close to Niagara Falls, have four grown sons (of whom I am very proud), three lovely daughters-in-law, a brand new grandson and another due in March.


As we all close the door on 2016 and celebrate the incoming year of infinite possibility, we pack away our Christmas or other holiday decorations, we make resolutions to prepare this year to be the very best (certainly better than the last), we are reminded of many of the important aspects of both our work and our personal lives.  For me, as I think about 2017 and our profession, the common theme of teamwork comes immediately to mind.  As members of this organization, we strive to make our teamwork both effective and efficient. As your President, I choose to accept both the privilege and the responsibility to improve our membership organization, to make a difference. I am honoured to continue the leadership so effortlessly shown by my predecessors, who have left tremendously large shoes to fill.


We have so much to do, and so many thoughtful, talented people to do it. Our grant initiatives, partnerships with other organizations, focus on the importance of public policy, increasing membership with a focus on international members, improving the education we offer to you, and encouraging more research will continue while we will remain vigilant in ensuring our patients’ voices are heard. Expect to see a new educational offering directed at leadership and connected to our annual visit to Capitol Hill.

From politicians seeking to reduce access to full reproductive health care options and criminal justice professionals admonishing rape victims for not simply “keeping her legs crossed”, to the on-going backlog of thousands of forensic evidence kits going unsubmitted and untested, we as frontline providers to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence have to continue to be diligent and proactive this coming year.

I look forward to a productive year with you.  I encourage you to reach out, support one another, and to share - be communicative, open and involved.

Liz Louden RN, BN, MSN, SANE -A
President 2017
International Association of Forensic Nurses


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