Kathryn Laughon Wins an Award for Improving Dye Used in Sexual Assault Examinations

Kathryn_laughonKathryn Laughon, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Virginia, was honored with the 2014 Ann Burgess Forensic Nursing Research Award from the International Association of Forensic Nurses. Dr. Laughton was honored for her work in developing a dye that highlights lacerations and abrasions on the skin of women of color that makes it easier to collect evidence in cases of sexual assault.

forensic_dyeWhen a health care professional treats a victim of rape, she often places a dye on the woman’s skin that illuminates all lacerations, abrasions, and tears. Researchers have found that the use of the dye documents two to three times the number of injuries compared to examinations conducted without the dye. But one problem with the commonly used dyes is that they are ineffective on darker skins. Dr. Laughon’s research involves conducting tests on new fluorescent dyes that show up injuries on all skin colors.

Dr. Laughon holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Virginia. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

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