Meet Team Avalon
Meet our Founder and CEO
Kimberly Hurst is a Certified Physician Assistant and Forensic Examiner. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Wayne County Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program, or WC SAFE. She has specialized in emergency medicine, trauma and sexual violence for 20 years. She received her Bachelors of Science from Michigan State University in Exercise Science; her Master of Arts in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Wayne State University. She has worked in Detroit her entire professional career.
Kimberly has served in numerous work groups and think tanks on behalf of the issues surrounding sexual assault and abuse at the local, state and national levels. She is heavily involved in education and training to the community, as well as to other professionals working with survivors of sexual violence.
Kimberly Hurst, BA, MA, MS, DFAPPA, PA-C Bio
Kimberly Hurst is the Executive Director of the Wayne County Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner’s Program (WC SAFE). Kimberly has a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology from Michigan State University (1995), where she worked as an Athletic Trainer, and then a Masters of Arts in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota (1997), where she was awarded a Graduate Assistantship with the University of Minnesota Men's Athletics Big 10 Football Program and then worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer for 3 years in high school athletics. She then received her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Wayne State University (2001). After getting her Physician Assistant Degree, she immediately began working in Emergency Medicine and in the underserved city of Detroit where she has now worked for 20 years. Here, Kimberly saw on a daily basis the overall lack of availability of specialized services to sexual assault patients.
In 2001, she took a Basic Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner course, and was hooked! She began working as an independent contractor for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs in both Oakland and Macomb counties. After gaining experience in the field for 2 years, she felt it necessary to embark on implementing SAFE services in Wayne County.
It took two years more to obtain start-up funding and their 501c3 status, but in January of 2006, WC SAFE opened it doors out of one small clinic location in northeast Detroit, with only Kimberly and a handful of SAFE nurses. That first year they cared for approximately 120 sexual assault survivors. Each year the number of patients served grew and in 2010, WC SAFE added additional services to become the first stand-alone comprehensive sexual assault center in Southeast Michigan. This now included providing not only 24/7 medical-forensic services, but crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling (individual and group), community outreach, prevention education and social change work. Now, in their 14th year of service, WC SAFE services over 1,500 survivors annually with numbers growing each year – reaching over 17,000 survivors of sexual violence to date.
These services have been provided at no cost to all ages of survivors of sexual violence.
Under Kimberly’s leadership, WCSAFE has grown to 6 clinic sites around Wayne County and employs 25 full time staff & 5 contracted SAFE nurses and recently rebranded as the Avalon Healing Center. The expert witness testimony that Kimberly and her Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner team have provided over the years has helped to hold sex offenders and rapists accountable through countless guilty convictions. Working to build a safer community and change rape culture in this country.
Avalon Healing Center is the largest and busiest program of its’ kind in the state of Michigan and in the top 5% in the country for patient/client volume.
Kimberly is heavily involved at the local, state and federal levels in improving protocols and services for sexual assault survivors in all communities. She is a sought-after speaker on the topic of sexual assault/violence and provides health care providers, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, other advocacy organizations and the community with imperative information on how to respond compassionately and effectively to sexual assault survivors. She is also a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
In addition, Kimberly has been an integral part of helping to have solved the issue of un-submitted kits in Detroit. She has participated in research projects on this issue and has been invaluable, helping develop best practice approaches to this particular issue for sexual assault survivors.
She has served on numerous work groups at the local, state and national levels, as well as participating in think tanks relating to issues of sexual violence.
Kimberly also continues to practice Emergency Medicine as a Physician Assistant in the Beaumont Health System.
She has received several awards and acknowledgments and is recent graduate of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Executive Leadership Program. Some of her awards include:
- Crain’s Healthcare Hero 2020
- Esteemed Women of Michigan 2020
- Wayne State University Arthur L. Johnson Community Leadership Award 2019
- McGregor Fund Fellow 2018
- Molina Healthcare Community Champion 2015
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association - Liberty Bell Award 02014
- Twilight Foundation Civic Honoree 2013
- Wayne State University Most Distinguished Alumni - Physician Assistant Studies 2008
Kimberly also supports Breast Cancer, the American Heart Association, ALS, and the Jay Fund – an organization that supports families of children with cancer and other childhood illnesses.
Kimberly has been a proud Detroiter and Michigan native all of her life and has been working in the community for over 20 years. Bringing these specialized services to survivors of all types of sexual violence in Detroit has become a passion from the heart.
She has been happily married to her life partner for over 25 years and is the mother of two very active boys – ages 11 and 13. She always says she couldn’t do this amazing work without their love and support. Some of her favorite things to do include traveling, shopping, reading, spending time with her family and sitting by a wood fire, enjoying a tasty beverage.
Meet our Staff
Trinea Gonczar is a survivor and advocate for victims of sexual abuse including those who are impacted as a result. As a former gymnast from Lansing, Michigan and a survivor of the disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, Trinea's victim impact statement went global hours after she spoke. Her statement was aired on BBC, Al Jazeera, and World News Tonight. Exploring options for other survivors in her case, she recognized that even in such a public spotlight as hers, unfortunately there were minimal resources for survivors. In her search, Trinea found Founder and Executive Director, Kimberly Hurst and Avalon Healing Center. Realizing that in most cases of sexual assault, resources such as Avalon Healing Center, were given after the assault or in crisis. Trinea's focus is to raise awareness and to elevate Avalon Healing Center's business model nationally and globally. To bring attention of their services, before any assault or trauma occurs. Trinea currently serves as the Director of Development at Avalon Healing Center.
Trinea was featured in the HBO documentary At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal. Trinea was also featured on the NPR podcast "Believed" as well as the Audible book "Twisted". She was selected as part of the speaker panel "Sister Survivors Round table" on ESPN. Trinea was also featured in the book "The Girl's" by Abigail Pesta and "Start by Believing: Larry Nassar's Crimes, the Institutions that Enabled Him, and the Brave Women Who Stopped a Monster" by John Barr and Dan Murphy.
Speaking nationally about her experience has earned Trinea numerous accolades, including the Arthur Ashe Award at the ESPY's. This award inspired the name of her first child, Ashton (Ashe) in honor of the courage award of the year. She is also a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from Global Sports Development and the Humura Award from the EDJA foundation. She has been in named one of Glamour Magazine's 2018 Women of The Year. Trinea spoke at both the 2019 and 2020 United Nations Survivor Townhall with the group RISE, in hopes to help pass the World Wide Survivor Bill of Rights. Trinea has spoken on multiple panels and educational summits, congressional hearings and international medical forums. Trinea spoke at the University of Kansas Law, Aspen Ideas Festival, HBO Tribeca Film Festival, Women Sports Film Festival, University of Pennsylvania, Amazon Awesome Days and She Power Sport.
Trinea dedicates her time and efforts at Avalon Healing Center to prevent anyone from repeating her experience. She has a focus and passion to prevent any further trauma to those impacted by sexual violence. Trinea sits on the Michigan State University’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Advisory Board and is a graduate of Colombia College Chicago with a BA in investigative Journalism. Trinea lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband Justin and two small boys Ashton and Lochlan.