Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Promoting Resilience and Reducing Risk Factors for Refugee and Immigrant Youth: A Trauma Systems Approach

This webinar explores protective factors and risk factors among refugee youth and families. The presenters, Dr. Molly Benson and Saida Abdi, reviewed research on neurological responses to trauma, outlined the importance of combining ecological and individual approaches to intervention, and explored how stressors at various levels of analysis may impact youth and families. They then shared their experiences using trauma-systems therapy for refugees (TST-R) in their work with refugee youth at the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The objectives of this Post-Webinar Discussion were to:

  1. Share Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center’s Core Stressors of refugee youth.
  2. Discuss culturally appropriate, school-based mental health interventions effective for refugee youth.

See a link to the recording here.

See a link to the powerpoint here.


Subject Matter Experts

Saida Abdi, MSW, LCSW
Saida Abdi, LICSW, MSW., M.A., is the Director of Community Relations, a clinical social worker, and expert in refugee trauma and resilience. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston University and another Master’s degree in Communications from Carleton University and is currently pursuing her PhD at Boston University. She is a native of Somalia and a former refugee herself. Ms. Abdi has worked for more than 20 years in the area of refugee youth and families, developing school-based programs to support adjustment of refugee youth in resettlement and community-based research and intervention. For the past 8 years, she has worked at the Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center as a part of SAMHSA funded project to develop and implement refugee mental health interventions. She has organized trainings on the issue of promoting resilience and reducing risk behaviors among refugee youth for educators, policy-makers, clinicians and community leaders. She is trained in Trauma System’s Therapy and is an expert in building culturally responsive interventions.

Molly A. Benson, PhD
Dr. Benson is the Associate Director for Refugee Treatment and Services at the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. She provides oversight, training, supervision, and support for program activities focused on the development and dissemination of treatment interventions and resources for refugee children and families. She is licensed clinical psychologist who has experience providing evaluation and treatment to children and adolescents, including those who are refugees and youth seeking asylum in US. For several years she provided clinical services and supervision through the Psychosocial Treatment Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and currently she maintains a small private practice.


Additional Resources

This webinar was the second installment in a two-part series on refugee youth and families.  For further discussion on this topic, view the following links:

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