SANE Mentorship Program

The Re LAB SANE Mentorship Program connects members who are working as SANEs with experienced SANEs who have been trained as mentors. 

Membership Program Team

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Alison Lopez, Mentor

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Alison Lopez, RN, SANE-A has practiced as a Forensic Nurse Examiner for 17 years at Aurora Healing and Advocacy Services in Milwaukee, a hospital based comprehensive care model. She is currently a member of the on-site nursing team which provides trauma informed care to survivors of sexual violence, intimate partner violence and human trafficking. In 2020, Alison became a member of the SANE seminar faculty for the Wisconsin Department of Justice medical forensics program. In addition to forensic nursing, Alison has 26 years of nursing experience in an Emergency Department setting. She began as a staff nurse and spent the last 13 years as an Emergency Department RN Case Manager. In 2021, Alison decided to shift her focus strictly to forensic nursing as she has found it to be her passion. Throughout her career, Alison has been involved in many multidisciplinary initiatives focused on improving the overall response to individuals that have been impacted by violence.

Ellen Johnson, Mentor

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Ellen Johnson has been a nurse for 46 years, specializing in Emergency nursing. She has been a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner since 2002 and now devotes all her time to that specialty.  Ellen supervised the SANE program at Regions Hospital from 2005 to 2022 and now works as the SANE Educator there.  Regions Hospital SANE Program provides sexual assault exams at 5 hospitals in the Twin Cities metro area.  Ellen enjoys collaborating with community partners and is a frequent presenter locally and nationally on forensic nursing through the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), the Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SVJI) and the Ramsey County Sexual Assault Protocol Team.  She has been an instructor for the 40-hour SANE didactic course since 2006 and has hosted IAFN clinical skills labs at Regions Hospital since 2015.  Ellen is a lifetime member of both IAFN and Emergency Nurses Assoication (ENA), and is active in both IAFN and the MN chapter of IAFN. 

Kaylen Moore, Mentor

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Kaylen Moore BSN, RN, CCRN, SANE-A, SANE-P has been practicing as a Registered Nurse for 20 years, caring for patients in the specialty areas of internal medicine, critical care, and perioperative care at Froedtert Hospital, a Level I trauma academic medical center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kaylen also has 10 years of experience as a Forensic Nurse Examiner, caring for survivors and perpetrators of violent crimes. She is a Ph.D. nursing student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a current research focus that examines how African American women navigate the intersecting systems of healthcare and law enforcement after experiencing intimate partner violence. Kaylen has contributed to the improvement of nursing practice and trauma-informed care of survivors as a professional mentor for Marquette University BSN students, membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the IAFN, and authorship of publications such as chapters in the book, IAFN Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Certification: A Review for the SANE-A® and SANE-P® Exams.  

Kelly Nelson-Cichosz, Mentor



Headshot of Kelly Nelson-Cichosz

Kelly Nelson-Cichosz is a registered nurse with 26 years of emergency room experience. In 2015, Kelly completed additional training to become a forensic nurse caring for adolescent and adult victims of sexual assault. Working for Allina Health, that program advanced their training and care to include intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and non-sexual child abuse. She has advanced training in Non-Fatal Strangulation. A member of the International Association of Forensic Nursing and MN Chapter, in 2019, Kelly became the director of education. Kelly has a passion for Intimate Partner Violence traveling and speaking on topics of the Uniqueness of Intimate Partner Violence and Non-Fatal Strangulation. In 2023, Kelly completed additional training on Pediatric Sexual Violence and currently works for the Hennepin County Assault Response Team (HART) performing both adult and child sexual assault exams, intimate partner violence and sex trafficking exams. Her primary role as a middle school nurse allows her to meet the adolescents, encourage and mentor them to get to their next step. Kelly is married with seven children and with her husband manages a small hobby farm with a large produce garden, tending to chickens, turkeys, ducks, and a lovely bee apiary.

Kelly Nelson Cichosz BNS, RN, PHN, SANE-A, Licensed School Nurse

Lillie Graham, Mentor

Lillie has been a nurse for almost 2 decades while currently working  for Regions Hospital as a Charge Nurse on a Progressive Care Unit specializing in Heart & Vascular Care while also practicing as a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) out of the Regions Hospital Emergency Department since 2021.  Lillie is fascinated with working in this profession as it provides her with a renewed sense of knowing that she is committed to making a positive difference in victims' lives. She is passionate about advocating for her patients, providing resources and thrives on overcoming very difficult challenges or situations, while educating those in her community. Lillie has been a member of the International Association of Forensic Nursing and MN Chapter since 2021, in 2023 Lillie became President Elect for the MN Chapter. Lillie also enjoys spending time with her two daughters and her extended family/friends. 

Linda Walther, Mentor

Linda Walther is the Clinical Coordinator for the Statewide Medical Forensic Policy Program SVJI@MNCASA. She has over 40 years of nursing experience and has been a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for 15 years. Currently, Walther is a SANE with the Regions Hospital SANE team.  She provides training on the medical forensic exams for hospitals and coordinates SANE trainings in Minnesota.  

Melissa Jackson, Mentor

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Melissa Jackson has practiced as a Registered Nurse since 2008, caring for patients in both bedside and ambulatory care roles in Washington State and Minnesota. In 2016 she began work as a SANE with Regions Hospital SANE Program in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to this role, she enjoys instructing at SANE-A courses and clinical skills labs, as well as providing education to community partners on the role of the SANE, medical forensic exams and non-fatal strangulation. She began a new role with Regions in 2022 as Supervisor of the SANE program, where she supports an exceptional team of nurses.    

Sarah Hoffman, Mentorship Program Coordinator

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Sarah Hoffman is an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. She studies intergenerational trauma in war-affected families and the longitudinal health effects of trauma from torture and war. Prior to her appointment at the University, Sarah served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa, a human rights intern in South America, and a nurse on the inpatient unit of the Johns Hopkins Hospital AIDS service. In conjunction with her faculty position at the University, Sarah is a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. She teaches and advises in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs at the School and serves as an affiliate faculty member to the Master of Human Rights program.  

Susan Kolar, Mentor

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Susan Kolar is a Registered Nurse at Saint Mary’s Hospital Emergency Department in Rochester, Minnesota. Prior to her work in the Emergency Department, she worked as a Registered Nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit and the Hematology/Oncology/Blood Marrow Transplant unit. In conjunction with her role as an Emergency Department nurse, Kolar has been a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner since 2016. She received her SANE-A certification in 2021. She is an active member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (national and local chapters) and the Academy of Forensic Nursing.