Thanks to a $15,000 grant from 1st Source Foundation, Franciscan Health’s Centers of Hope in Michigan City and Chesterton will have the ability to provide compassionate care to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, while documenting evidence to bring justice to tragic cases.

“With this generous grant from 1st Source we are able to meet our goal of purchasing and installing state-of-the-art Cortexflo equipment for both our Chesterton and Michigan City emergency departments, enhancing and improving existing sexual assault response and treatment services in Porter and LaPorte counties,” said Debbie Tatum, Franciscan Health Foundation director of development.

Franciscan Health Michigan City’s Center of Hope is a designated space where SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) nurses create a safe environment for victims of violence, sexual abuse and trauma. SANE nurses are also trained in collecting forensic evidence and working with local law enforcement agencies. The Cortexflo system allows nurses to take evidence-grade photos and videos. Its hands-free capability allows the use of both hands during an examination.

Regional President of 1st Source Bank Matt Vessely said providing the grant is not just a way to help, but also to raise awareness of a sensitive subject. “It’s a significant issue that seems to be getting worse. So, when we thought about how we could serve and realized that with some basic equipment, it could dramatically change the level of trauma care and improve the experience for people who are impacted, it was fairly easy to step up and make something happen,” he said.

Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni said, “It’s unfortunate that we even need this, but we appreciate the support of businesses like yours that are willing to step up and help us live our mission and take care of these very vulnerable populations.”

Lori Bridegroom, RN, SANE coordinator at Franciscan Health Michigan City called the Cortexflo the gold standard for forensic cameras with the ability to add diagrams and labels to photos. She adds that the ability to take hands-free photos is especially important in pediatric cases, which unfortunately are on the rise. She hopes by talking

about the issue, “it brings it more to light, and hopefully, that helps decrease these numbers.”

Bridegroom said Franciscan Health’s Centers of Hope have nurses on call 24/7, where a trained nurse is always available to take care of a victim, so they don’t have to be transferred. Along with the extensive training SANE nurses undergo to provide trauma-informed, victim-centered care, they are also trained to recognize signs of human trafficking.

To learn more or to donate to the Franciscan Health Foundation to support the Centers of Hope, go online at or call (219) 661-3401 in Northern Indiana.