I am Navy medicine, and victim advocate: Hospitalman Savannah Voges

Hospitalman Savannah Voges, from Maple Valley Wash., assigned to Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton, poses for a photo outside the hospital April 24, 2020. Voges serves as a sexual assault prevention and response victim advocate at NMRTC Bremerton. April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month across the country by both civilian and military communities. The 2020 Department of Defense theme for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission." NMRTC Bremerton supports more than 60,000 military families in West Puget Sound, shaping military medicine through training, mentoring and research to ensure a ready medical force and operationally ready force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Meagan Christoph/Released)

“I am Hospitalman Savannah Voges assigned to Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton.”

Voges, from Maple Valley Wash, graduated from Tahoma Senior High School in 2017 and shortly after joined the Navy. She explained that her grandfather served in the Navy and was inspired by him to pursue a career in Navy Medicine.

“I saw joining Navy as a great opportunity to kick start my career in the medical field and open doors for opportunities of advancement later,” said Voges.

Voges serves as a dental laboratory technician at NMRTC Bremerton by manufacturing dental prosthetics according to dentist specifications, assisting in the replacement of partial or total loss of natural teeth, corrections of dental irregularities, and helping improve the look of the natural teeth by constructing applicable devices per patient needs.

The experience that Voges is receiving through her position at NMRTC Bremerton is not similar to the end goal she has set for her career, but explained that the skills she is gaining will help her anywhere her career in medicine goes.

“I want to become a mid-wife and feel that the knowledge I will gain from my current career path with Navy Medicine will help me takes steps to be a well-rounded medical professional in the future,” said Voges.

Voges has expanded her training by serving as sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) victim advocate (VA) since reporting to NMRTC Bremerton.

SAPR victim advocates provide continuous victim support throughout the incident reporting process, initial and ongoing investigation, and court proceedings. They supply all information to the victim so that he or she can make the best decision and they serve as a liaison between the victim and service providers. SAPR VA’s also assist in the annual sexual assault training and pre-deployment sexual assault briefs for commands.

“I became a victim advocate because I want to show my support for the men and woman who have been affected by these tragedies and help them transition back into life easier after,” said Voges.

Voges explained that she feels the SAPR VA service is vital to have at commands and that it is important for the well-being of Sailors.

“If we didn’t have access to these types of services, victims would potentially have to reconcile with the situation on their own,” said Voges. “Which could lead to things being overlooked or for a lapse in care that could be vital to recovery.”

When asked how her role contributes towards the Navy surgeon general priority on operational readiness, Voges answered:

“My duty as a VA helps put me in a place where I can provide victims someone they can talk to, help them get access to information, and work as an in between for access to care. The service I am helping to provide can set into motion the steps they may need to getting back to being medically ready and back into the fight.”

Voges’ described her time so far with Navy Medicine and her role as a SAPR VA as an experience that has allowed her to show compassion to people who have been put through an awful situation and letting them know that they have someone on their side fighting.

“It makes me feel like I have served one of my purposes in life by helping others in this trying time in their life,” said Voges.