News Release

George Mason receives NIJ grant to develop bruise identification protocol

Dr. Katherine Scafide and collaborators will develop protocol and curriculum for bruise identification using alternate light

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Dr. Katherine Scafide, George Mason University

image: This is Dr. Katherine Scafide. view more 

Credit: George Mason University

Dr. Katherine Scafide received a $398,719 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant for her proposal entitled: Improving the Forensic Documentation of Injuries through Alternate Light: A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership.

The grant will enable Scafide to advance her work on bruise identification using alternate light sources (ALS) and develop training protocols to translate the ALS technology into practice. "Our studies have found that ALS works in helping to identify hard to see bruising or bruising on darker skin. However, we've seen that many hospitals are hesitant to adopt ALS technology because there is no established protocol on its use."

"The NIJ grant is crucial in advancing the science and the adoption, because it is not enough for a hospital to buy the equipment. A forensic nurse must know how to photograph bruises using alternate light and be able to document, interpret and testify to the results in court," says Scafide. The grant allows Scafide and collaborators to develop a program to implement ALS into forensic nursing practice and evaluate its feasibility. The study will help identify potential barriers that could interfere with successful adoption across forensic nursing units.

"Developing this protocol is an amazing example of partnership between researchers and practitioners," says Scafide who is working in collaboration with researchers from Georgia State University and University of Nevada, forensic nursing units at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Inova Health System, and consultants from the Montgomery County Police Department and Maryland State's Attorney's Office.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest and most diverse public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 37,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. For more information, visit

About the College of Health and Human Services

George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence and interprofessional practice. The College enrolls 1,917 undergraduate students and 950 graduate students in its nationally recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate degrees, and 11 certificate programs. The College is transitioning to a college public health in the near future. For more information, visit

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