HONOLULU (April 30, 2019) - Tripler Army Medical Center recently hosted celebrity guest speakers, Flip Rodriguez (ANW) and Sarah Rice (MTV) in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month (SAAPM), at Kyser Auditorium.

Tripler Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Mr. Santiago Orta, coordinated for the event to take place as Tripler has a responsibility in caring for our military, DA civilians and family members. The medical center also plays an essential role in caring for victims of sexual assault across the State of Hawaii and even throughout the region. These services are provided to all Department of Defense service members and their adult family members.

Both Rodriguez and Rice spoke with the Tripler Army Medical Center "Ohana" on the issue of sexual assault with the mission of empowering audiences to make positive changes on their installations and communities. They shared their "Survivor" to "Thriver" stories, addressing myths and facts while imparting empathy on participants. Also discussed were the root causes of sexual violence and the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

With the support of the medical center's Sexual Assault Medical Management Office, which consists of an all-voluntary team to include the sexual assault medical director, forensic examiners, clinical providers, behavioral health providers, and care coordinators, Tripler provides a compassionate uniform standard of quality care that treat all victims with dignity and respect.

Starting at the emergency room Tripler personnel are often the first responders and offer a forensic examination and many other tests to include testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), day after testing, the prophylactic, and also behavioral health as part of the sexual assault medical management team.

The SAAPM event allowed Tripler personnel to gain more empathy by receiving a message outside of the medical field and the military.

The Tripler Deputy Non Commissioned Officer in Charge for Patient Support, Master Sgt. Luis Rodriguez, also the SARC for Tripler's Troop Battalion explained, "The message Flip shares is not easy ... but I believe his message needs to be shared. It gives other victims of sexual assault a hero to look up too, the courage they need to seek help, tell their story, and be a part of the movement of change in our society."