Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Archives for June 2015

Meet the NPCT Trainers


Sylvia Acevedo, LL.M

Sylvia Acevedo is the Program Director overseeing the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture, Refugee Resettlement, and VOICES Interpreter and Translation programs operating in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Ms. Acevedo has over 20 years of social service experience devoting the last 13 years of her career to specifically overseeing programs for victims of gender based violence.  She attained her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Lynn University and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in Intercultural Human Rights from St. Thomas University School of Law.

Kelleen Corrigan, J.D., M.A. 

Kelleen Corrigan is Practitioner-in-Residence/Lecturer and Supervising Attorney at the University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic. She previously worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where she headed the refugee status determination units in South Sudan and Lebanon, and worked as a protection officer in Colombia. Prior to joining UNHCR, Ms. Corrigan was a detention attorney with the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC – now Americans for Immigrant Justice) in Miami. Initially an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Ms. Corrigan focused primarily on providing legal representation and advocacy on behalf of detained immigrant women facing deportation. Previously, she served as an international volunteer with Peace Brigades International (PBI) in Bogotá, Colombia and subsequently served on the board of PBI in the United States. Ms. Corrigan graduated cum laude from American University, Washington College of Law, where she participated in the International Human Rights Law Clinic and the UN Committee Against Torture Project, co-founded Alternative Spring Break, and worked on the Human Rights Brief and International Law Review. She also has a dual Master’s Degree from Boston University in International Relations and International Communication.

Ruth McLean Dawson, M.A.

Ruth McLean Dawson has consulted with and worked in nonprofit organizations in the United States, Southeast Asia, Central America and Africa. A significant part of her work has been with refugees, immigrants and survivors of torture, genocide, human trafficking and ethnic cleansing. She has also worked with organizations providing services including case management, foster care and adoption, direct social services, mental health, health and wellness, housing, legal assistance, and environmental education and advocacy. Ruth has extensive experience working with nonprofits at local, regional, national, and international levels – direct service, management, and development – and spent several years at the Foundation Center. She has a Master’s Degree in Risk, Crisis, and Disaster Management and is currently working as a Nonprofit Coach and Consultant focused on organizational sustainability – planning, quality, and fundraising.

Victoria Fear, M.S. Ed.

Victoria Fear serves as Programs Associate at The Miami Foundation. In this role, she maintains knowledge of local nonprofits and manages the grant making process for multiple programs at the Foundation. She is an alumna of AmeriCorps NCCC and AmeriCorps VISTA, programs of the Corporation for National & Community Service. Victoria holds Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Montclair State University, and earned her M.S. Ed. in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. She currently serves on the board of Agorascape, a start-up philanthropic design studio.

Amber Gray, M.P.H., L.C.P.P.

Amber Gray established New Mexico’s Refugee Mental Health Program in 2007, where she was the Refugee Mental Health Coordinator for seven years. She is now a Clinical Advisor with the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis. She has worked with refugee mental health and torture treatment since 1998 and as Clinical Advisor for CVT, provides training and supervision to organizations who work with refugees and survivors in Moldova and Lebanon, as well as CVT’s Ethiopia program. She has consulted and provided clinical training on refugee mental health and torture treatment to more than 30 programs worldwide. She is the 2010 recipient of the ADTA Outstanding Achievement Award for her international work, and is a frequent speaker on topics related to refugee mental health. She is a co-author “Refugee Mental Health Screening” in the 2014 publication Refugee Health Care : An Essential Medical Guide (Annamalai, A. (ed.)) and has published many articles and chapters on related topics.

Amy Greensfelder

Amy Greensfelder is the Refugee Mental Health Program Coordinator at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Prevention and Health Promotion Administration, Office of Immigrant Health. She has served in this role for three years, and coordinates mental health screening for newly arrived refugees, adjustment support groups, and training and education opportunities. Ms. Greensfelder came to Maryland from North Carolina where she was a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative at a refugee resettlement agency. Additionally Ms. Greensfelder worked in overseas refugee processing as a Case Worker with the Resettlement Support Center based in Nairobi, Kenya. Ms. Greensfelder is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Josh Hinson, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., L.C.A.S. 

Josh Hinson is a Clinical Instructor at the UNC School of Social Work, where he serves as Program Director for the UNC-CH Graduate Certificate in Global Transmigration. Josh began working with Cuban refugees in 1995 as a volunteer with Lutheran Family Services in Greensboro, NC. Since then he has worked with indigenous community development organizations in Mexico; with Latino farm workers in eastern NC; as a social worker at a rural county department of social services; and as a mental health and substance abuse counselor with Spanish-speakers. Josh is the Principal Investigator for the UNC Global Transmigration – Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative, a research project designed to assess the need for, feasibility, and acceptability of mental health services for refugees in North Carolina. The project began contracting with the North Carolina State Refugee Office in 2015 to provide mental health services to refugees in three counties.

Melodie Kinet, M.P.H., M.B.A.

Mélodie Kinet is the Director for the National Partnership for Community Training Program at Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services. Mélodie has worked with refugees and torture survivors in various capacities across the world. After receiving her BA in medical anthropology from the University of Chicago, she worked with the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania and with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Interested in the intersection of multilateral international organizations with national grassroots efforts, she then worked with survivors in Bolivia, and helped to operate a refugee camp and field hospital in Haiti. Mélodie received a Masters of Public Health and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and worked in healthcare consulting in the US, then moved on to consulting for health tech start-ups in New Delhi, India. Since moving to Miami in 2013, Mélodie has started a social enterprise providing therapy to torture survivors via a community farm. Mélodie speaks French, Spanish, and Swahili.

Lori Kleinman, Ph.D. 

Dr. Lori Kleinman is a licensed Psychologist and Music Therapist with 30 years of mental health experience with specialty in the areas of trauma/traumatic stress and health/wellness. She holds a Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology (Univ. of Miami), a Masters degree in Counseling and Human Systems (Florida State Univ.), and a Bachelors degree in Music Therapy (University of Miami). She also has numerous certifications from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, National Organization for Victim Assistance, American Red Cross Disaster Response, United States Army Combat Stress Program, and has completed numerous specialized trainings in the areas of trauma psychology, traumatic incident reduction, traumatic stress, grief, posttraumatic stress disorder, domestic violence, sexual abuse trauma, physical abuse, prevention of medical errors, ethical/legal issues in psychological practice, health psychology, wellness and well-being, consultation and prevention, and various specific topics related to work with refugees and survivors of torture. Dr. Kleinman is also a Veteran of the United States Air Force, where she served five years active duty as a Psychologist. While a Captain in the military, she continued advanced training in trauma. Currently, Dr. Kleinman has a private psychological practice in St Petersburg, Florida where she provides psychotherapy and community programs for individuals, couples, families, and groups. She also works in the areas of health psychology, wellness, and prevention and provides numerous wellness presentations to organizations, hospitals and corporations as an expert trainer. In addition, Dr. Kleinman consults with the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture (FCST), providing training and evaluation services, and she previously served as Clinical Supervisor for FCST. She is the President of the Women’s Division of The Florida Psychological Association and has served on the Board of Directors for The Florida Psychological Association. She has also served on the Board of Directors for The Life Center, a community counseling center specializing in grief, loss, and recovery from trauma and violence. Most recently, Dr. Kleinman founded LIVIBRANCE, an integrative lifestyle model (, which is based upon the best research and practice in the areas of psychology, science, and the arts.  

James Lavelle, L.I.C.S.W

James Lavelle, is the Director of International Programs and Community Organizing for the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT).  As Co-founder of HPRT, he has spent the past 28 years working as a clinician, educator, researcher, and community organizer helping to pioneer the field of Refugee Mental Health.  Currently, James Lavelle divides his time as a clinician on a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement serving torture survivors in Massachusetts and an NIH/Fogarty-funded project allowing HPRT to consolidate its 25 years of work into a Distance Learning Certificate/Masters Degree Program called Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery. James is also involved in all aspects of HPRT’s ongoing research endeavors and local, national and international training and consultation.

Romy Lerner, J.D. 

Professor Lerner is a Lecturer in Law and Supervising Attorney with the University of Miami School of Law’s Immigration Clinic. Lerner previously worked as a supervising attorney at Americans for Immigrant Justice (formerly Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center), where she engaged in litigation and policy advocacy on behalf of low-income immigrants. Her work has included advocacy relating to immigration detention through monitoring conditions of detention, authoring and contributing to reports on detention center conditions, and meeting with White House officials, Department of Homeland Security representatives, and Congressional staff. Professor Lerner has served as Co-Chairperson of the Steering Committee of Detention Watch Network, a national coalition of organizations working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention system and to advocate for reform. Professor Lerner is a 2002 graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a member of the Human Rights Law Review. After graduating from law school, Professor Lerner worked as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP in New York. In 2006, she was the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, conducting independent research on the implementation of Argentina’s immigration law in a project supported by the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) and Refugee Assistance Center (CAREF).

Amber Lung, M.P.H. 

Amber Lung is an epidemiologist with the Refugee Health Project at the Washington State Department of Health.  She recently completed her Master of Public Health in epidemiology from San Diego State University. As part of her studies, she worked with a study adaptation for Somali refugees in San Diego, and did her thesis research on how psychosocial factors impacted the recovery of survivors of torture. While doing so, she was a staff recruiter for Peace Corps, having served as a community health volunteer in Namibia from 2005 to 2009. Prior to Peace Corps service, she was an HIV test counselor with the UCSF AIDS Health Project after graduating from University of California San Diego with degrees in biology and communications.

Stephanie McCladdie, M.S.

Ms. McCladdie is the Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Region IV office in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. McCladdie provides direct collaboration and liaison with Health and Human Services (HHS) colleagues in the eight (8) states of Region IV. In translating SAMHSA’s mission and vision in the southeast, she is a direct conduit to optimize opportunities to strengthen system improvement initiatives. She is also responsible for SAMHSA’s communication with the six (6) federally recognized Tribes. Prior to joining SAMHSA, Ms. McCladdie served as the National Prevention Network (NPN) representative for the state of Alabama. During her tenure of almost eleven years, Ms. McCladdie was the Multicultural committee Co-Chair for the NPN and held the position of the past Co-Chairs for the National Prevention Network Research Conference. Her twenty-seven years of human service experience includes Human Rights advocate for the disabled and Older Adult population, Family Advocacy/Mental Health specialist while stationed in Great Britain for the Department of Defense, an Instructor of Psychiatry with the John A. Burns School of Medicine-University of Hawaii AIDS Education Project, staff specialist in Planning, Development & Evaluation in Dayton, Ohio, and a Project Director with Auburn University with direct collaboration for the Child Welfare system. She has received awards and recognition from educational, civic and faith-based organizations in the United Kingdom, Red Cross, Girls Scouts of America, University of Hawaii, Laubach Pro Literary Foundation and non-profit agencies.

Holly Merrick

Holly Merrick currently serves as the supervisor of the Grants Administration Unit for the Florida Department of Children and Families, Refugee Services Program. Mrs. Merrick has over 15 years in the human services field with 11 of those years dedicated to contracts and grants management. Mrs. Merrick holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Social Science and Political Science from Florida State University. She is also a Certified Project Management Professional® (PMP®), Florida Certified Contract Negotiator and Florida Certified Contract Manager. Mrs. Merrick is happily married with two children and volunteers her time as Team Manager for the Tallahassee Tottenham Hotspur Futbol Club.

Sarah Miller, M.S.W.

Sarah Miller holds a Masters in Social Work from Tulane University and is Program Manager for the Refugee Health and Wellness Program at Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) in Columbus, Ohio. This program provides mental health screening for newly arriving refugees, strengths-based intensive case management, provider outreach and training, and alternative wellness activities such as yoga, music, and dance. Ms. Miller has experience working with refugees and immigrant populations on mental health, wellness and domestic violence issues including work on the Burma/Thailand border and at the headquarters of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) assisting in developing programming aimed at addressing the legal and social needs of unaccompanied alien children arriving in the U.S.

Richard Mollica, M.D., M.A.R.

Richard F. Mollica is the Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico and completed his Psychiatry residency at Yale Medical School. While at Yale he also trained in epidemiology and received a philosophy degree from the Divinity School. In 1981, Dr. Mollica co-founded the Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic (IPC), one of the first clinical programs for refugees in the United States. Over the past three decades HPRT and IPC have pioneered the mental health care of survivors of mass violence and torture. HPRT/IPC’s clinical model has been replicated throughout the world.

Nancy Murakami, L.C.S.W.

Nancy Murakami is the Director of Social Services at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT). She received her Master’s in social work from Columbia University, with a concentration in international social welfare and program development and evaluation. She received specialized clinical training in therapeutic methods of addressing the impact of psychological trauma on children, adults and families while at the Anti-Trafficking Program and Counseling Center of Safe Horizon, a New York City advocacy and assistance agency for victims of crime and abuse. Prior to joining the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Nancy was the director of counseling training for the non-profit foundation Burma Border Projects, based on the Thai-Burma border at Dr. Cynthia Maung’s Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand. She provided clinical and administrative training and supervision, program and resource development, and capacity-building to Mae Tao Clinic as well as other community based organizations providing services to the displaced Burmese communities inside Burma and in Thailand. Prior to becoming a licensed clinical social worker, Nancy taught secondary school and led health and gender-based initiatives in rural communities in Malawi, Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer. Nancy currently serves on the board of directors for Burma Border Projects, an organization addressing psychosocial consequences of torture and trauma among displaced Burmese.

Melanie Nezer, J.D. 

Melanie Nezer is the Vice President, Policy & Advocacy at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). She directs HIAS’ Washington, DC office and leads HIAS’ education and advocacy on immigration, asylum, and refugee protection issues. Ms. Nezer also has served as HIAS’ Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy and, previously, as Migration Policy Counsel and Director of the Employment Visa Program, representing at-risk Jewish professionals and religious workers seeking to work in the U.S. during times of instability and crisis in their home countries. Before joining HIAS, Ms. Nezer was the Immigration Policy Director for the organization now known as US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), where—in addition to conducting advocacy on immigration and asylum issues—she was co-editor of Refugee Reports and a writer for the annual World Refugee Survey. Prior to her work in Washington, Ms. Nezer was in private practice in Miami, Florida, where she specialized in immigration law and criminal defense. She obtained her law degree from Boston College Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Kate Porterfield, Ph.D.

Dr. Kate Porterfield received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in child and family treatment. She received the Power Fellowship at the University of Michigan to focus her clinical and research training on the needs of children who have suffered loss, either through death, divorce, or other trauma.Dr. Porterfield was a postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Child Study Center. In her work at Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture since 1999, Dr. Porterfield provides individual and family therapy to children, adolescents and adults and supervises trainees working with survivors of torture. Dr. Porterfield has worked as a clinical evaluator on several cases of young people held in detention at Guantanamo Bay and frequently consults with attorneys handling cases involving torture and maltreatment.  She has also presented extensively in the New York area and nationally on topics such as the effects of war and refugee trauma on children, clinical work with traumatized refugee families, and the psychological effects of torture.  Dr. Porterfield is the Chair of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children Residing in the United States.

Elizabeth Power, M.Ed.

Elizabeth Power is an internationally known and respected facilitator in the world of creating communities that are not only trauma-informed, they are trauma-responsive. This means helping individuals, organizations, and faith communities shift their focus from “what’s wrong with you” to “what happened to you” in more helpful ways. In organizations and faith communities, this includes helping people learn about the nature of traumatic events, their impact and simple relational models that support healing. She speaks from the voice of lived experience with trauma. Her firm, EPower & Associates, is an authorized provider of Sidran Institute’s Risking Connection® curriculum, which she presented to over 300 organizations and faith communities in the last ten years. Additionally, she has provided services for a five year SAMHSA grant promoting the transformation to trauma-informed care in King County Washington’s mental health service delivery system, developed the Trauma-Responsive Systems Implementation Advisor (TReSIA) model, delivered training to traditional people in Hawaii and Navajoland, and provided support for the development of programs working with indigenous people. Based in Nashville, Elizabeth is a graduate of Vanderbilt, an avid gardener, and deeply devoted to the development and restoration of wholeness.

Miriam Potocky, Ph.D.

Dr. Miriam Potocky is a specialist in refugee resettlement, human rights, international social work, and research methodology.  She has authored over 50 publications, including Best Practices for Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants (Columbia University Press, 2002).  Dr. Potocky has received external funding for work on refugees and immigrants from the Florida Department of Children and Families Office of Refugee Services, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, the International Rescue Committee, and the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture. She is currently the Principal Investigator of “Project MIRACLE: Motivational Interviewing for Refugee Adaptation, Coping, and Life Enhancement,” funded by the New York Community Trust. Dr. Potocky has served on the editorial boards of numerous leading social work journals, has held leadership positions in the Society for Social Work and Research, and has served as a consultant to local, state, national, and international governmental and non-governmental agencies.  She has twice received awards for excellence in teaching and twice received awards for meritorious performance.  She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in Social Sciences Higher Education, and Who’s Who in American Education. Dr. Potocky was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia and came to the United States with her family as a child refugee.  She received her B.A. in Psychology cum laude from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1984.  She received her M.S.W. in 1990 and her Ph.D. in Social Welfare in 1993, both from the University of Kansas, Lawrence.  She is a Professor in the Florida International University School of Social Work, where she has been on the faculty since 1993.

Jessica Shulruff, Esq. 

Jessica Shulruff, Esq. is a Senior Attorney with Americans for Immigrant Justice (formerly Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center) in Miami, FL. Ms. Shulruff works with both the LUCHA and Detention Projects. She provides Know Your Rights presentations to detained women at the Broward Transitional Center (BTC) and represents both detained and non-detained survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Executive Office of Immigration Review and the Board of Immigration Appeals. She speaks at conferences regarding immigration laws and procedures, and provides training and technical assistance to other attorneys. Before working at AI Justice, Ms. Shulruff worked at Catholic Charities Legal Services of Miami where she provided representation to low-income immigrants and helped spearhead the Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of Unaccompanied Alien Children (LOPC) in South Florida. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Ms. Shulruff received a Juris Doctorate and Masters of Art in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. While there, she externed at the Battered Immigrant Project and interned with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Peru, where she worked with indigenous children in the Peruvian Amazon basin. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida and is a member of the Florida Bar.

Hawthorne Smith, Ph.D.    

Dr. Hawthorne Smith is a licensed psychologist and Clinical Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. He is also an Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Smith received his doctorate in Counseling Psychology (with distinction) from Teachers College; Columbia University. Dr. Smith had previously earned a B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, an advanced certificate in African studies from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, and a Masters in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Dr. Smith speaks extensively at professional conferences and seminars on providing clinical services for survivors of sociopolitical violence, and enhancing cross-cultural clinical skills among therapeutic service providers. Dr. Smith was also a co-founding member of Nah We Yone, Inc. (a non-profit organization working primarily with refugees from Sierra Leone, as well as other displaced Africans), and has helped to coordinate the International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI), a leadership program for New York City teens. Dr. Smith has led these teenagers on summer fellowship programs to diverse countries such as Senegal, Gambia, South Africa, Egypt, and Israel. Dr. Smith is also a professional musician (saxophonist and vocalist) with international experience.

Paul Stein

Paul Stein currently is an independent consultant in Denver, working with organizations serving refugees and immigrants, and focusing on cross-system frameworks that promote integration and asset development. From 2005 until 2014, he was the Colorado State Refugee Coordinator, within the Colorado Department of Human Services. During this time, he served for five years as the President of the State Coordinators of Refugee Resettlement, and mostly focused on policy and integration issues. From 2000 until 2005, he was the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center in Denver, a torture treatment program. From 1988 until 2000, he worked as a national consultant to immigration attorneys on asylum applications and appeals, providing documentation and developing expert testimony concerning the home country conditions of asylum applicants. He previously worked as a multidisciplinary artist.

Kristin L. Towhill, L.C.S.W.

Kristin L. Towhill is a psychotherapist who serves as the Clinical Supervisor at the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture. She has worked extensively with clients with trauma and post traumatic stress disorder from torture, combat, and sexual abuse and assault. She specializes in PTSD, complex trauma, and dissociative disorders; including childhood sexual abuse and refugee trauma. In addition to working with FCST, she also does individual and group psychotherapy at the CW Bill Young Veterans Administration, a nationally leading Combat-PTSD program. Kristin Towhill has presented to a range of professionals, laypeople, and students on PTSD, complex trauma, dissociative disorders, and diversity. She received her Masters of Social Work from the University of South Florida. She has a BA in International Studies and Foreign Languages from the New College of Florida.

Thomas Turner, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas Turner is an author, consultant, and Volunteer Country Specialist on Democratic Republic of Congo for Amnesty international USA. Dr. Turner has taught at universities in DR Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Tunisia, and the United States. He is the author of Congo (Global Hotspots Series, Polity Press, 2013) and The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth and Reality (Zed Books, 2007).

Other recent work includes:

  • Will Rwanda End Its Meddling in Congo?” Current History, May 2013.
  • “The Myth of the Yoke, the White Messiah, and the Possibility of Congolese Self-Determination.” Paper presented in Panel on DR Congo: The Tough Path toward Democracy and the Legally Constituted State. Annual Meeting, African Studies Association, Philadelphia, November 2012.
  • “Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).” Co-author Robert Smith. In Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies. Ed. Thomas Spear. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  •  “Kabila’s Congo: Hardly ‘Post-Conflict’, Current History, May 2011, pp. 196-200.
  • “Nationalism, Historiography, and the (Re)construction of the Rwandan Past.” Claire Norton (ed.) Nationalism, Historiography and the (Re)Construction of the Past. Washington: New Academia Press, 2006.
  • “Gender Policy, Women’s Political Participation, and Development in the Great Lakes Region.” Co-author Irène Safi. OSSREA Bulletin, I, No. 1 (February 2004), 17-25).

Monica Vargas, M.S.P.H., M.B.A.

Monica L. Vargas, is the State Refugee Health Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Public Health, Division of Health Protection, Refugee Health Program. Mrs. Vargas has been with the program for 14 years, and serves as a liaison between the federal, state, local governments, community health centers, and refugee serving organizations to meet the overall needs of linkage coordination, health assessments, and capacity issues are addressed within the refugee community. Ms. Vargas has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, Masters of Business Administration in Health Care Management, and a Masters of Science in Public Health. Mrs. Vargas is currently pursuing and completing requirements for a Doctorate in Public Health.

Sandra Vines, M.A.

Sandra Vines, is the Associate Director, Resettlement & Integration at Church World Service in New York, NY. Ms Vines joined the CWS headquarters team in December 2010 after nearly five years working overseas with the US Refugee Admissions Program. In her current role, she oversees domestic refugee Reception and Placement, Matching Grant and Preferred Communities Program activities. She also serves as the chair for the RCUSA Post- Arrival Subcommittee. Prior to joining CWS New York, Ms. Vines held positions as the Head of Resettlement at RSC TUMEand Pre-CIS Supervisor at RSC West Africa/Ghana. Sandra began working for the USRAP in 2004 as a Medical Coordinator for refugees resettled to the International Institute of Rhode Island. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco where she trained volunteers and taught English as a second language. Sandra holds a Master’s Degree in French Literature from Brown University.

Karin Wachter, M.Ed.

Karin Wachter joined The University of Texas at Austin in 2012 as a Project Director at the Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) and to pursue a doctoral degree in social work. Before moving to Austin, Karin spent 10 years working with the International Rescue Committee as a humanitarian aid worker and senior technical advisor on violence against women and girls in war zones, primarily in Africa. Her expertise includes intervention design, logic models, and program monitoring and evaluation. Karin’s current interests include researching Congolese refugee women’s experiences pre- and post-resettlement to the United States, in order to inform policy and practice. She teaches research methods in the School of Social Work at UT Austin.

Eric Wagner, Ph.D.

Dr. Eric F. Wagner is the Director of Florida International University’s (FIU) Community-Based Intervention Research Group (C-BIRG), and a Professor in FIU’s Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. Dr. Wagner is an internationally-recognized expert on brief interventions for alcohol and drug users, with a particular emphasis on minority and immigrant populations. His community-based clinical research has been sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism & Alcohol Abuse, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología. He has served as an expert for the United Nations, the United States Department of Education (ED), the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on addressing adolescent substance use problems. Dr. Wagner has partnered with public schools in Miami-Dade and Broward County, with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, among others, in conducting his community-based clinical research.


Central African Republic





Click the map to view the Country Condition Report on the Central African Republic




Meet the NPCT team

Jenny Lange is the Director of the National Partnership for Community Training. She received her Master’s in Social Work with a Global Concentration from the University of Utah and has worked in refugee resettlement in multiple facets for seven years. At the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City, Jenny served as a Family Mentor and Case Work Intern before becoming the Mental Health Program Coordinator. She conducted mental health screenings, facilitated referrals, and coordinated services with mental health providers. At the Utah International Charter School she was the School Social Worker during its first year of operation, developing goals with refugee youth and creating opportunities for integrated learning. She has also assisted with an immigration research project and a refugee youth panel featured in major art exhibits by the Center for Documentary Expression and Art. Jenny is dedicated to ensuring refugees have access to effective, culturally-sensitive mental health care within the U.S. When she is not working, Jenny enjoys finding new cuisine and traveling with her husband.

Isabelle Swan-Mae Darling is the contracted Clinical Lead serving as a mental health consultant for the National Partnership for Community Training Program. Isabelle was raised in New York, educated in Massachusetts, and currently resides in North Carolina. Isabelle has worked with refugees, asylum seekers, and survivors of torture for over 15 years. After receiving her BA at Hampshire College where she focused on the racial identity development of African refugees she worked in various roles advocating for communities impacted by trauma. Her passion working with survivors of trauma has brought her across the globe where she assisted behavioral health teams in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, co-organized an international conference on social development in Uganda, and served as a Case Manager, group facilitator, and Interim Director at the refugee resettlement site International Institute of Lowell. Isabelle Darling received her MSW from Simmons College with a specialization in trauma treatment. Her social work education focused on the survivor of torture experience through her work with the Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights at Boston Medical Center. Isabelle Darling is a forever student of those that face violence and choose a path of peace.

Caroline Culbreth is the Project Coordinator for the National Partnership for Community Training. Originally from Northern Kentucky, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Spanish at Western Kentucky University (WKU), where she also studied Mandarin Chinese as part of the Department of Defense National Security Education Program’s Chinese Language Flagship.  While at WKU, she coordinated several economic development and cultural exchange programs serving refugee and immigrant communities as Multicultural Services Intern for the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships, most notably helping launch the Community Threads Weaving Cooperative in partnership with Burmese community leaders. Caroline expanded on this experience as a grant writer and research assistant at Madrid-based international development NGO AIDA Ayuda, Intercambio, Desarrollo, before returning to Kentucky to complete original ethnographic research for her undergraduate Honors thesis on ethnic identity development in second- and third-generation Latino Americans. Upon completing her degree, Caroline relocated to Fort Worth, Texas, to become a certified bilingual educator teaching core content areas to Spanish-speaking elementary school students from migrant and refugee families. She is currently working on her M.S.Ed in Community and Social Change at the University of Miami alongside her fiancé, Wilson.




National Symposium Power Point Presentations and Resources

The National Partnership for Community Training hosts a national symposium every three years to bring together national torture treatment experts, leaders, policy analysts, and social service providers to address national and regional issues within the torture and refugee trauma field. In April, 2015, NPCT in collaboration with the University of Miami School of Law’s Human Rights Clinic presented Connecting Leaders, Impacting Communities & Sustaining Programs: Strengthening the National Torture Treatment Network to 149 participants in 30 states with key note address by Mawi Asgedom and Daniel Trust.

Creating Refugee Wellness Programs in Ohio and North Carolina

Designing and Evaluating Trauma-Informed Programming to Improve Outcomes for Refugee Women in the U.S.

Faith Leaders as Strategic Partners

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

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

Legal Practitioners’ Perspective on Effective and Ethical Representation of Torture Survivors, Asylum Seekers, and Refugees

New Frameworks to Build and Sustain Programs

Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process

Refugee Mental Health Program Challenges

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

Strategic Partnerships and Fundraising Techniques

Training the Next Generation of Refugee Service Providers

Working with Interpreters in Refugee Services


Stories of Hope from Bhutanese Refugees: Moving from Distress to Wellness

Colorado Welcomes. It’s What We Do. . . 

Consultation Calls

The National Partnership for Community Training (NPCT) is focused on disseminating evidence-based, holistic clinical practices to our stakeholders, and to addressing emergent needs directly, with experts from the torture treatment field.  Use the technical assistance request form to reach out to NPCT to request technical assistance in the form of a consultation call.  These calls are set up to assist organizations in building their capacity to serve torture survivors, increasing their organizational sustainability, and to promote collaboration between aligned organizations. We can assist you in building a better program based on best and promising clinical and organizational practices in order to better meet the mental health needs of refugees.

NPCT past calls have covered: Addressing the steps necessary to develop a torture treatment center, case consultation on difficult cases, building refugee run support groups to address issues such as suicide, and a host of different topics. Let us know what you need and we will organize a consultation call with you.

Building Awareness, Skills & Knowledge: A Community Response to the Torture Survivor Experience

The National Partnership for Community Training, in collaboration with Tennessee Office for Refugees/Catholic Charities, will be hosting a training on July 22-23, 2015 in Nashville, TN for providers who serve the immigrant, refugee, asylee, and asylum-seeking populations.

Many professionals, such as social workers, teachers, doctors, nurses and mental health clinicians, may not have been trained in, and are generally unaware of, the specific issues, treatments and referral needs that survivors of torture can pose. 

This training includes presentations from nationally-recognized experts in the torture treatment field from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.

There is no charge for the training, but registration is required.

Please register by Monday, July 13, 2015.

CLICK HERE for more information and to register.