Sexual Assault Physician-Expert Receives Inaugural WEAVE Award
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sutter Health’s Angela Vickers, M.D., is a nice, sweet, lovely pediatrician who deals with some of the most ghastly, horrifying, ugly things: sexual and physical abuse of children and sexual assault of adults. Her calm, even-keeled, straight-forward manner, though, is a major benefit to the abused and survivors, as well as for law enforcement and the courts, as she collects evidence as a specially trained forensic medical doctor and provides expert testimony in cases. For these reasons and more, Dr. Vickers was chosen by WEAVE as the inaugural honoree for its Golden Voice Award.
“We chose Dr. Vickers because the work that she does really gives voice to victims in the courtroom,” said WEAVE CEO Beth Hassett. “The DNA that she and her team collect tells the whole story for jurors who often are looking at a crime that had no witnesses, and the evidence that’s collected by the BEAR Program and processed in the crime lab becomes that extra witness.”
Dr. Vickers leads the Sutter Health BEAR Program – Bridging Evidence Assessment & Resources – where survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual and physical abuse undergo forensic medical examinations. Dr. Vickers, the only pediatrician in the greater Sacramento region who is board certified in Child Abuse and Neglect, leads a team devoted to survivor-centered and trauma-informed care and provides voice for victims through collection of forensic evidence and testimony. Her work enables survivors to move past the initial trauma and toward healing while holding offenders accountable through evidence collection.
“The first and most valuable thing Dr. Vickers does when people come in to the BEAR clinic for an exam is: She believes them,” Hassett says. “Dr. Vickers tells them, ‘I believe your story, and I’m going to help get that evidence to tell that story.’ She’s part of that continuum of people in the community who are helping victims heal and hopefully get justice for the crime that was committed against them.”
The Sutter Health BEAR Program, a combined program of Sutter Medical Foundation and Sutter Medical Center Children’s Center, is the sole care provider for abuse and neglect victims in Sacramento and Yolo counties, and also provides backup coverage to several other Northern California counties that do not have 24-hour coverage. Dr. Vickers, who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Child Abuse and Neglect, leads the program’s multidisciplinary team of specially trained nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide services such as:
- Non-surgical pediatric gynecology.
- Non-invasive colposcopy.
- Child abuse assessment, including physical abuse and neglect.
- Child, adolescent and adult forensic medical examinations for sexual assault.
- Forensic medical case review.
- Community resource connections.
Donor support through Sutter Medical Center Foundation allows the BEAR Center to provide vital 24-hour child abuse assessment and community resources throughout the region.
The Golden Voice Award, named in honor of longtime WEAVE advocate and Sacramento news legend Stan Atkinson, recognizes those whose work furthers WEAVE’s efforts to build a future and community that does not tolerate domestic and sexual violence, and believes and supports victims. The award celebrates those who amplify the voices of those who experience violence and those who demand justice for survivors.
WEAVE’s mission is to build a community that does not tolerate domestic violence and sexual assault and provides survivors with the support they need to be safe and thrive. WEAVE provides 24/7 crisis intervention services for victims and school and community based education. Incorporated in 1978, WEAVE is Sacramento County’s oldest and most comprehensive provider of services for victims of domestic violence and sole Rape Crisis Center. For more information, go to www.weaveinc.org.
For more information on the Sutter BEAR Program, go to https://www.sutterhealth.org/services/pediatric/child-abuse-neglect-bear-smcs.