Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Archives for February 2015

Legal Practitioners’ Perspective on Dealing with Torture Survivors, Asylum Seekers, and Refugees

Torture survivors and other asylum seekers face the prospect of facing legal proceedings to be able to receive protection and stay legally in the United States. However, in order to prove their cases for asylum relief, they are generally forced to retell their stories, including the difficult events that led to the flight from their home country. The balance between ensuring the best legal case possible and limiting the amount of re-traumatization is a delicate one and underscores the need for coordination between legal and mental health professionals.

Learning Objectives:

  • A brief overview of some of the legal principles of asylum cases that are relevant to the client’s psychological situation and discussion of past trauma will be presented, such as:
    • Credibility analysis
    • Past persecution / corroboration of harm
    • Severity of the harm suffered
  • Participants will be introduced to examples of some successful collaborations and good practices in legal / mental health and/or social service partnerships
  • Participants will observe a simulation and/or case study to put the theoretical into practice
  • Participants will be given time for dialogue and discussion

Strategic Partnerships and Fundraising Techniques

Moderated by Tim Kelly, Program Specialist in the Division of Refugee Health at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), this panel will include Victoria Fear, M.S. Ed. from the Miami Foundation; Stephanie McCladdie, M.S. from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), Ruth McLean Dawson, M.A. from Major Gifts, and Holly Merrick from the Department of Children & Families (DCF).

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss which types of partnerships nonprofits should consider to optimize their reach
  2. Discover the ways in which various represented organizations partner with other community organizations to maximize their impact
  3. Encouraging nontraditional or public/private partnerships
  4. Learn fundraising strategies for nonprofits

The Role of Policy and Advocacy in Refugee, Immigration, and Torture Treatment Services

In recent years, the need for education and advocacy with policymakers has become increasingly important. Individuals involved with refugee, immigration, and torture treatment services can add a critical perspective to public policy debates and decisions. As part of these efforts, advocates can share personal and professional experiences, policy recommendations, and research findings and data, with their national, state, and local policymakers, the media, their colleagues in related fields, and their local community representatives who can be effective partners in this work.

This presentation will highlight the ways in which participants can utilize their experience to inform and influence the public policy process. Specifically, this session will include presentations about the value of public advocacy with illustrations from past and recent history related to torture treatment and offer guidelines and tools that participants can use to help raise awareness about the need for services for refugees and immigrants, including those with experiences of torture. Participants will also be encouraged to share their own experiences with policymakers and community building and raise questions for group discussion.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify federal initiatives with important policy implications for refugee, immigrant, and torture survivor programs
  2. Cite key examples illustrating the value of policy and advocacy work for refugee, immigrant, and torture survivor programs
  3. Describe guidelines and tools that can be used to educate and inform the policy-making process

Integrated Holistic Approach to Medical and Mental Health Care: The New H5 Model

This workshop at the field level will address the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma’s (HPRT) new H5 Model for the care of highly traumatized refugee patients and communities. This model is spreading worldwide from Long Beach, California to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and provides a field-based orientation for caring for the most vulnerable traumatized populations.
Secondly, this workshop will address at the macro-level the policies and programs necessary for a holistic integrated primary care approach to traumatized patients and families.
The TRAUMA STORY is the centerpiece of both models – field and macro levels.

Other principles that will be discussed are:
1. Science-based medical and mental health practices
2. Trauma-informed care
3. Chronic disease
4. Health promotion – self-healing
5. Women’s health
6. Traditional healing

This workshop is suitable for all including non-medical staff and humanitarian workers.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn to apply the basic principles of the H5 Model
  2. Learn the basic principles of the integrated holistic approach
  3. Learn the new research in medical and mental health care for refugee patients.

New Frameworks to Build and Sustain Programs

For significant numbers of survivors of torture, challenges with integrating in the United States are as much a presenting concern in treatment as is the trauma associated with torture in their country of origin. Equally important, for significant numbers of torture treatment programs, diversification of funding and developing mainstream partnerships are the key to program sustainability. During this session, Paul Stein will discuss the longitudinal research project on refugee integration that he has coordinated. He will also discuss his current work focusing on asset development for refugees and immigrants, which utilizes an anchor institution framework. Participants in this session will gain a deeper understanding of the interaction and initial quantification of integration domains, as well as the potential for new program designs and funding partnerships by using an anchor institution framework.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understanding the interaction and initial quantification of integration domains
  2. Understanding the potential for new program designs and funding partnerships by using an anchor institution framework

Designing and Evaluating Trauma-Informed Programming

Designing, monitoring and evaluating trauma-informed interventions with refugees resettling in the U.S. is a growing area of interest for both practitioners and policy makers. Developing new programs requires the identification of needs to inform program design. Sound program design draws from the available knowledge- and evidence-base and is grounded in a logical theory of change in order to be successfully implemented, monitored and evaluated. Options for evaluating a program depend on the intervention and availability of technical and financial resources. This participatory workshop will lead participants through the process of identifying needs to developing a logic model to guide implementation, monitoring and evaluation activities. The session will draw from key findings and program recommendations generated from a recently conducted exploratory study.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand how trauma may impact the resettlement experience of refugee women from the DRC and discuss pragmatic trauma-informed strategies for meeting the service needs
  2. Participants will be able to explain the importance of sound program design in setting interventions up for success with regards to implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  3. Participants will be able to know what to look for in seeking technical support for designing and evaluating their programs

Improving Outcome Study Design: Association of Psychosocial Factors with Recovery of Survivors of Torture

Outcome studies related to torture treatment programs are limited, and most involve mental health. A broader understanding of how psychosocial factors affect survivors of torture and their impact on recovery is needed, but limited resources often preclude organizations from sufficient monitoring and evaluation. A historical retrospective study was conducted on 58 clients of Survivors of Torture, International (SOTI). Intake data were collected when clients registered for services at SOTI. Follow up data were collected after six months of services. Of the 58 survivors included in this study, 72.41% believed their symptoms had improved, and a similar 70.77% believed they dealt with their daily problems more effectively, since starting services at SOTI. Data points which capture intensity and frequency of exposures of interest and basic and enhanced study designs are proposed to better evaluate torture treatment programs in a practical manner that community organizations can implement with limited resources.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify three to five psychosocial factors which may influence recovery of survivors of torture
  2. Define SMART goals/objectives and their use in monitoring and evaluation
  3. Identify two possible strategies for improved study design

Working with Interpreters in Refugee Services

This session will provide an introduction to interpreter roles, responsibilities, and ethics through two real-life case scenarios highlighting confidentiality, side conversations, fidelity to message, roles, confidentiality, use of first person, and fidelity to message. Participants will break into small groups throughout the session to discuss the issues brought up in the case scenarios, and share regional resources.
Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the role of the interpreter
  2. Know where to find additional resources for interpretation
  3. Be equipped to identify and correct issues with interpretation as they occur

Refugee Mental Health: Program Challenges

Integrating refugee mental health programs and services with other services through strong partnerships and collaborations is important, and, raises many challenges. This panel of presenters from three states who have implemented refugee mental health programs in the past seven years will discuss the challenges they continue to encounter to meet the increasing mental health needs of newly resettled refugees. The presenters will discuss a continuum of challenges such as:

  1. The logistical aspects of setting up adjustment support groups in Maryland for newly arrived refugees, including selecting topics to address in groups, selecting providers, working with partner agencies, measuring outcomes, and interpretation in group settings
  2. Funding challenges that have negatively impacted the implementation of the RHS 15 in Georgia
  3. Challenges in creating and maintaining access to interpretation services in New Mexico, as well as logistical challenges to maintaining a program in a state with limited refugee knowledge and “buy-in”

Learning Objectives:

  1. Exposure to key challenges in providing quality mental health services to the refugee population
  2. Learning about creative ways that states have responded to these challenges
  3. Learning about innovative mental health programming being implemented in refugee communities across the United States

Training the Next Generation of Refugee Service Providers

Representatives from programs within the National Partnership for Community Training will describe their models for internal training of students and early career professionals, including medical students, psychiatric residents, psychology interns and externs, and social work interns, as well as external training of resettlement communities more generally. A conversation will be facilitated with conference participants from around the country who provide training at their sites as well.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Enable a discussion of various training modalities and programs’ responsibilities to train future providers
  2. Discuss the importance of choosing whom to train and the challenges of training providers from different fields

Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process

Adjudicating the asylum process is one of the most challenging tasks that torture survivors must face, as they attempt to rebuild their lives in their new countries. As clinicians, we provide therapeutic  services to our clients who are facing these challenges. We may also be called upon to provide affidavits and testimony for those asylum seekers who are involved in the asylum process. Our interventions may take the form of one-time evaluations, or may be drawn from our ongoing treatment of longstanding clients. This presentation will speak to the challenges and best practices for clinicians providing support, documentation and expert testimony during a survivor’s asylum process. The insights will come from a clinician that has done, or supervised, hundreds of successful asylum cases at the asylum office level as well as the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be better able to approach psychological evaluations in a supportive and effective manner
  2. Participants will understand the nuances between engaging in the asylum process as a one-time evaluator as opposed to an ongoing treating clinician
  3. Participants will understand the distinctions between being an “expert” witness as opposed to an advocate
  4. Participants will be able to navigate the differences between consistency and causation in terms of psychological findings

Creating Refugee Wellness Programs in Ohio and North Carolina

Resettled refugees in the U.S. face many barriers to self-sufficiency including language, employment, and lack of culturally appropriate health programs to meet unique health and wellness needs. The lack of culturally competent healthcare providers, combined with limited opportunities for resettled refugees to have a voice in public health arenas to represent their own needs directly, often leaves a gap between providers and consumers and can lead to inadequately addressed physical and mental health issues. This presentation will cover a newly developed Refugee Health and Wellness Program in Columbus, Ohio that identifies refugees in need of mental health support and liaises with healthcare providers and public health infrastructures to connect individuals to culturally appropriate services, reducing isolation and stigma and increasing access to services. This presentation will include policy suggestions for engaging healthcare providers and public health networks with resettled refugee communities, allowing for increased communication, engagement, and better-addressed health needs.
In addition, this presentation will cover a pilot project at the UNC School of Social Work to assess the mental health needs of refuges and to test the feasibility and acceptability of mental health interventions with refugee populations. MSW students, working in a field education unit, partner with area refugee resettlement agencies to conduct mental health screenings using the Refugee Health Screener – 15 (RHS-15) and provide mental health treatment for this population. The project incorporates a quasi-experimental design to gather data on the effectiveness of treatment. This session will include discussion on opportunities for collaboration among schools of social work, resettlement agencies, and mental health providers. Participants will identify steps for replication of the model in their own communities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Summarize the steps necessary for a school of social work to develop a partnership with local refugee resettlement and interpreter agencies, as well as processes for developing a program that will build student capacity to serve refugee populations
  2. Review research findings indicating the effectiveness of the model in reducing refugees’ emotional distress
  3. Examine the implications that the programs have for mental health service delivery to refugee populations so far, and explore opportunities for continued research, replication, dissemination, professional training, and policy advocacy
  4. Participants have an understanding of the major barriers that can occur between healthcare consumers and providers.

Faith Leaders as Strategic Partners

Traumatic experiences of all types impact what people believe about what they can’t see—their forms of the why we are and what we are meant to become. How can spirituality, and faith influence healing? In what ways can service providers and service recipients explore matters of faith? Everyone involved in the healing process has some form of spirituality, and there are times when the service of rituals and community unique to faith communities can be immensely supportive—or retraumatizing. In this 75 minute interactive workshop, participants explore these questions and more, identifying and considering different paradigms for relationship and referral among the community of healers.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize the role faith and spirituality play in survival and healing
  2. Recognize the importance of the paradigms of spirituality for service providers, recipients, and faith leaders
  3. Differentiate between language and models that help and hurt when working with faith communities
  4. Describe ways in which service providers can ally with faith leaders

Sessions Overview

Creating Refugee Wellness Programs in Ohio and North Carolina: Josh Hinson, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., L.C.A.S., and Sarah Miller, M.S.W.

Designing and Evaluating Trauma-Informed Programming: Karin Wachter, M.Ed.

Faith Leaders as Strategic Partners: Elizabeth Power, M.Ed.

Improving Outcome Study Design: Association of Psychosocial Factors Associated with Recovery of Survivors of Torture: Amber Lung, M.P.H.

Integrated Holistic Approach to Medical and Mental Health Care: The New H5 Model: Richard Mollica, M.D., M.A.R.

Legal Practitioners’ Perspective on Working with Torture Survivors, Asylum Seekers, and Refugees: Kelleen Corrigan, J.D., M.A.; Romy Lerner, J.D; Jessica Shulruff, Esq.

New Frameworks to Build and Sustain Programs: Paul Stein

Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process: Hawthorne Smith, Ph.D.

Refugee Mental Health: Program Challenges: Amber Gray, M.P.H., L.C.P.P.; Amy Greensfelder and Monica Vargas, M.S.P.H., M.B.A.

The Role of Policy and Advocacy in Refugee, Immigration, and Torture Treatment Services: Melanie Nezer, J.D. and Ann Marie Winter

Strategic Partnerships and Fundraising Techniques: Victoria Fear, M.S. Ed.; Stephanie McCladdie, M.S.; Ruth McLean Dawson, M.A.; Holly Merrick and moderated by Tim Kelly

Training the Next Generation of Refugee Service Providers: Melodie Kinet, M.P.H., M.B.A.; Richard Mollica, M.D., M.A.R. and Hawthorne Smith, Ph.D.

Working with Interpreters in Refugee Services: Amy Greensfelder, Nancy Murakami, L.C.S.W.

Meet the Keynote Speakers

Mawi Asgedom mawi

Born Selamawi Haileab Asgedom, Mawi Asgedom is an author, public speaker, and a refugee of Ethiopian and Eritrean origin. Mawi was born in Ethiopia. For about two years of his childhood, he was separated from his father, when he had to flee to Sudan to avoid the war in Ethiopia. Mawi was seven years old when he and his family arrived in the U.S. in 1983, sponsored by World Relief. They had spent the previous three years in a refugee camp in Sudan. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Illinois. He graduated with top honors from Harvard University, receiving a degree in American history and giving the commencement address at his graduation in 1999. He is the bestselling author of Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard and The Code: The 5 Secrets of Teen Success. He has spoken to over 500,000 students in more than thirty states. He has trained educators at The Harvard School of Education, The Midwest Principal’s Center and many teaching conferences. Mawi is also the founder of Mental Karate, an organization that helps youth take positive action and Mawi Learning, an organization that increases the academic and life opportunities of youth through character, social and emotional, and leadership training.

After Mawi’s presentation, participants will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard.

Daniel Trust  trust

Born Daniel Ndamwizeye, Daniel Trust is a Rwandan Genocide survivor, philanthropist, and a youth motivational speaker based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He immigrated to the United States in 2005 as a refugee when he was 15 years old. Upon arriving in the U.S., Daniel quickly learned how to speak English and started attending Bassick High School in Bridgeport, CT where he graduated with high honors in 2008. In 2010, he obtained his American Citizenship. He graduated with a business management degree from Southern Connecticut State University in 2013. Daniel founded the Daniel Trust Foundation in 2009 when he was just a freshman in college. The organization was originally founded with a mission of supporting orphans around the world. In 2014, Daniel Trust relaunched the Daniel Trust Foundation with a focus on recognizing and rewarding students from all backgrounds, who promote and give back to social causes they are passionate about in their communities and teachers who go above and beyond to help their students succeed in school and in their personal lives.

Information Guide: Working with Interpreters: Service Provision with Torture Survivors

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the Information Guide: Working with Interpreters: Service Provision with Torture Survivors.

Work with interpreters should be grounded in best practices, with creativity and flexibility to fit the context. Cross-cultural and trauma-informed skills are critical in interpreted services with traumatized refugees. We can anticipate, manage, and address challenges faced by refugees, interpreters and service providers.

  • Download the information guide here
  • View the webinar here
  • Download a PDF of the presentation slides here


Working with Interpreters: Service Provision with Torture Survivors

Work with interpreters should be grounded in best practices, with creativity and flexibility to fit the context. Cross-cultural and trauma-informed skills are critical in interpreted services with traumatized refugees. We can anticipate, manage, and address challenges faced by refugees, interpreters and service providers. Through the use of case examples from the field, this webinar will address how to provide and fully utilize interpretation, modes and styles of interpretation, best practices and challenges.
Participants will gain skills in:
  1. Conducting effective, culturally-informed, and trauma-informed services through interpretation
  2. Identifying and addressing challenges related to interpretation
  3. Training interpreters and care providers in use of interpretation
The objectives of this webinar are to:
  1. Enhance provision of services to traumatized refugees of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds
  2. Increase awareness, knowledge and skills of service providers working with traumatized refugees
  3. Offer strategies for more effective communication when using interpreters
  4. Offer participants best and promising practices for working with torture survivors

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