2023 International Conference on Forensic Nursing and Practice
Dr. Leslie Miles (DNP, FAAN) and her fellow researchers were honored with the Research Article of the Year award at the 2023 International Conference on Forensic Nursing and Practice this September. The article, titled ‘Mental Illness as a Vulnerability for Sexual Assault,’ was published in the July/September edition of the Journal of Forensic Nursing.
Over the course of more than a decade, Dr. Miles has collaborated with Drs. Julie Valentine and Linda Mabey, both former BYU Nursing professors, along with Dr. Nancy Downing from Texas A&M University, to examine over 7,000 cases of sexual assault for their research.
In a recent interview, Dr. Miles discussed several difficulties associated with such a massive undertaking. She named low self-reporting rates, strict data collection and emotional burden as significant challenges in the research and writing process.
An important aspect of this research was recognizing the layers involved in such a sensitive topic. In Dr. Miles’ words, “Mental illness is so stigmatized that this is really a social justice issue.” She and her partners were heavily involved in legal proceedings and decisions during the research process, in an effort to make a meaningful difference.
Dr. Miles also recognized the power of combining her own practical experience with the research expertise of her colleagues: “This research would not have been possible if there was not the collaboration of DNP and PhD.” She has found that important steps are taken “when people say, ‘how do I make a difference in the world?’ and ‘something needs to be done, this is not okay.’”
Ultimately, Dr. Miles and those with whom she conducted this research recognize that an award is a secondary achievement; real success is measured by what is done to confront the issue and mitigate its effects.