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Joan Meunier-Sham, MS, RN

2024 Allied Professional Award
Watch the tribute video

Joan Meunier-Sham, MS, RN | Allied Professional Award
Director of the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program
Boston, Massachusetts

Joan Meunier-Sham is the director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program and is responsible for the statewide delivery of acute adult and adolescent SANE services in 52 Massachusetts hospitals, and the delivery of Pediatric SANE services in 10 of the state’s 12 Children’s Advocacy Centers. She was also the co-director of the National TeleNursing Center (NTC), a pilot project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.

In this pioneering project, expert SANEs at the NTC used telehealth technology to provide 24/7 “real time” support and guidance to clinicians conducting forensic examinations for adult and adolescent sexual assault patients in underserved communities.

The NTC pilot provided services to over 270 patients in 6 hospitals in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts. The project team also recorded vignettes that model quality, trauma-informed “TeleSANE” practice to train new TeleSANEs. Nearly 100 rural and critical access hospitals have been the beneficiaries of this information. 

Ten years later, the NTC has been renamed the MDPH TeleSANE Center, is solely funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and operated through Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and has served more than 850 patients. Other communities across the country have developed their own TeleSANE models based on the success of the NTC.

Prior to these roles, Ms. Meunier-Sham was the associate director of the Massachusetts Pediatric SANE Program. Drawing on her clinical background in pediatrics and pediatric emergency nursing, Ms. Meunier-Sham provided institutional standards and response protocols, and developed and implemented pediatric standards of care for patients who had been sexually assaulted and then shared it statewide. She became known for creating guidance and protocols where none existed.

Ms. Meunier-Sham has spent years developing relationships to get the right people together to make real change, including multidisciplinary stakeholders to share information and collectively improve survivors’ post-assault experiences.

This is exemplified by her contributions to creating the statewide Adolescent Task Force to bring together a multidisciplinary group of agencies and providers to assess current adolescent sexual assault response practices and develop best practice guidelines.

Research and continuous examination into program and SANE care improvements are part of Ms. Meunier-Sham’s practice. She actively explores researcher-practitioner improvements centered on victim-survivors in policy and practice decisions that would impact them.

2024 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this tribute video about the Joan Meunier-Sham, MS, RN, 2024 recipient of the Allied Professional Award.