Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Refugee Youth Programs Research Project

About the Research

The National Partnership for Community Training (NPCT) is conducting a research project on refugee youth programming. We hope to explore whether youth programs have an impact on the family’s health and well-being.

NPCT’s national needs assessment and ongoing national discussions, reaching out to approximately 3,500 refugee resettlement staff and mainstream providers who serve refugees, show the topic of refugee youth was consistently identified as one of interest and relevance. Youth programs have become critical components of refugee services, given the number of school-aged children who have been resettled and the complex roles (e.g. cultural broker) youth play between their new communities and their families. Furthermore, the unique experiences, needs, and strengths of refugee youth illustrate the importance of targeted programs and services to address mental health concerns, strengthen inherent coping skills, and foster healthy family relationships.

This project helps to address the question “Do refugee youth programs affect the health and wellness of refugee families?” The research includes a literature review of refugee youth programming and a two-tiered online survey of refugee youth programs in the U.S.

By completing this survey, you and your organization will be contributing to the national sample size of this research’s refugee-specific youth programs. NPCT will collect your responses and analyze the results to determine national trends, offer insights, and share recommendations.

 

Who Should Complete the Survey?

Staff members who work in refugee-specific youth programming are encouraged to complete the survey. For the purposes of this research and survey, “refugee-specific youth programming” refers to programs or organizations that:

  1. offer tailored services for refugee youth populations
  2. incorporate culturally appropriate staff trainings and approaches to support refugee youth, or
  3. serve a majority of refugee youth clients/participants/patients, but do not necessarily have a specific program.
It is not a requirement that the program only serve refugees.

Time and Incentives

The survey will collect information about program services, goals, challenges, and successes and will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. Your organization may be eligible for a $15 gift card* for completing a separate and detailed portion of this survey.

NPCT will invite a sample size of those who completed the first survey to participate in a 2nd online survey with more in-depth questions regarding program outputs, measured outcomes, staff training, and family-centered approaches. Those participant organizations will be eligible to receive a $30 gift card* for completing the second survey.

*Only one gift card may be awarded per organization.

 

Confidentiality

Participation in any part of this research project or the surveys is optional and voluntary. Names of organizations/programs/agencies, individual or staff names, and contact information provided in this survey will remain internal to NPCT’s research team and not shared with other agencies or the general public without prior written permission from the organization or individual. The final results will be de-identified and will not tie any individual person or organization with the survey answers.

 

Contact

For more information about this research project, please contact NPCT at partnership@gcjfcs.org.

POSTPONED: Individual Identities: LGBTI Refugees

POSTPONED:

Please note these trainings have been postponed. NPCT will be in touch with any updates.


 

These trainings have been postponed. NPCT will be in touch with any updates.


Objectives

Webinar Objectives

1) Discuss the importance of acknowledging and supporting individual identities among refugee populations, specifically LGBTI identities
2) Explore culturally responsive approaches for resettlement staff working with LGBTI refugees
3) Describe trauma informed and LGBTI affirmative practices that service providers can incorporate

Case Study Objectives

1) Offer therapeutic approaches and recommendations when working with refugee clients who have identified as LGBTI
2) Discuss cultural nuances among refugee groups that may influence engagement and access to mental health services


Submission Guidelines*

Submit your case study today! These presentations will focus on the clinical aspects of your cases, offering therapeutic modalities and techniques. To help foster an intimate dialogue with our subject matter expert, space is limited to 40 registrants.

When registering, submit a brief description of a case example that includes working with a refugee client who may identify as LGBTI and/or face challenges related to sexual orientation or gender identity. Submission can be of a current or former client and should include the following basic information:

  • Age
  • Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation
  • Country of origin
  • Date of arrival to the U.S.
  • Immigration status
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Client strengths
  • Client challenges
  • Client community/familial supports
  • Mental health concerns
  • Focus of treatment
  • Brief description of your primary concern/challenge

*Please avoid sharing identifiable client information (full name, alien ID, etc.) to protect client privacy rights.

Subject Matter Experts

Isabelle Darling, LCSWA

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.


Edward Alessi, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Alessi’s research aims to improve understanding of stress and trauma among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations and enhance clinical practice with LGBT and other marginalized populations. His research has been published in journals such as Psychological Trauma, Child Abuse & Neglect, Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Research, and The Journal of Sex Research. Dr. Alessi’s most recent study explored trauma and resilience in LGBT individuals who obtained refugee/asylee status in the United States or Canada due to persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. He served as guest editor for the Clinical Social Work Journal’s first special issue on Clinical Practice with LGBTQ Populations. Dr. Alessi has also been recognized by Rutgers students for his teaching. He received the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award four years in a row (2013-16) and the Innovative and Creative Teaching Award in 2012. A clinical social worker since 2001, he has worked primarily in outpatient mental health and has been an independent practitioner since 2004.

Resilience among Refugee Youth and Families

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present

Resilience among Refugee Youth and Families

 

Objectives

  • Define resilience as it relates to refugee youth and their families
  • Describe community-based and family-based clinical interventions for refugee youth and families
  • Share how to incorporate resilience-based activities into overall treatment of refugee youth and families

See the link to the recording here.

See the powerpoint presentation here.


Subject Matter Expert

Suzan Song, MD, MPH, PhD

Suzan J. Song is the Director of the Division of Child/Adolescent & Family Psychiatry and Associate Professor at George Washington University Medical Center. She recently moved from the Bay Area, where she was medical director of an intensive foster care clinic and a survivors of torture community-based clinic, and has been a humanitarian protection advisor in war-affected countries for 8 years. She is a former White House APIA fellow and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative fellow, with training from Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Amsterdam. Her work integrates clinical practice, policy, and research through commissioned projects for the United Nations and has worked in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia, KwaZulu/Natal, Haiti, and Burundi with current work in Syria/Jordan and the DR Congo. She has grants funded by the Department of Defense and Grand Challenges Canada, as well as commissioned projects for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and is focused on family-centered resiliency processes for survivors of extreme trauma.

Refugee Youth Discussion

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present

Promoting Resilience and Reducing Risk Factors for Refugee and Immigrant Youth

https://youtu.be/X7ItJLVZ-kk

 

Objectives

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

See the link to the recording here.

See 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 a 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.

Clinical Approaches in Integrative Healthcare

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present

Clinical Approaches in Integrative Healthcare Case Study

 

Objectives

  • Describe multi-disciplinary team approach to address complicated mental health concerns among refugees
  • Connect common physical symptoms that may be associated with a mental health concern and how to identify them
  • Share therapeutic considerations for refugees seeking care at integrative healthcare settings

See the link to the recording here.

See the powerpoint here.


Subject Matter Expert

Jan Jenkins, PhD

Jan Jenkins is a clinical psychologist and the Director of the Colorado Refugee Wellness Center. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and is certified in global mental health through the Harvard Trauma and Recovery Program. Dr. Jenkins has worked extensively in the trauma, integrated care, and refugee mental health arenas and has presented at the North American Refugee Health Conference. She has directed several grant-funded projects pertaining to enhancing health equity for refugees, utilization of refugee health navigators to enhance efficacy of healthcare, and development of culturally responsive systems of refugee integrated care. The CO Refugee Wellness Center is a collaboration between primary care and mental health partners: Metro Community Provider Network and Aurora Mental Health Center. It is located in Aurora, CO, one of the most diverse cities of its size in the country and home to the majority of refugees in the state. Metro Community Provider Network, under contract with the Colorado Refugee Services Program, provides medical screenings for newly arriving refugees and Aurora Mental Health Center partners to provide mental health screenings. Ongoing integrated primary and behavioral healthcare is also provided.

Integrative Healthcare Settings: Addressing Mental Health in Primary Care Post-Webinar Discussion

The Post-Webinar Discussion provided an intimate format for service providers to learn from Dr. Fox’s experience in providing integrative care to refugee populations from the perspective of a physician working in a Federally Qualified Health Center. Dr. Fox emphasized the importance of addressing mental health as part of primary care and that all the staff are part of the behavioral health team. Dr. Fox further discussed the necessity of primary care providers to discuss mental health with patients and the importance of being able to identify somatic symptoms. Finally, she described the importance of interpretation and knowledge of cultural beliefs and traditions, as well as best practices in streamlining services.

The objectives of this Post-Webinar Discussion were to:

  • Share trauma-informed approaches healthcare providers can use when addressing mental health concerns, such as somaticized symptoms
  • Describe the best ways to facilitate a mental health referral in an integrative healthcare setting
  • Explore the ways in which healthcare professionals can be integrated into refugee ongoing healthcare and well-being

See a link to the recording here.

See a link to the powerpoint here.

Subject Matter Expert

Dr. Andrea Fox, M.D., MPH

Dr. Fox is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Boston University School of Medicine. She did a residency in Internal Medicine at the Social Medicine Program at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx where she also completed a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine. She has been a faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She focused her work on community-based care of older adults and teaching students about caring for older adults. In 2006 she accepted the position to be the founding Chief Medical Officer of the Squirrel Hill Health Center, a new Federally Qualified Health Center in Pittsburgh. Since that time the Health Center has had significant growth and opened a second site in December 2015. The Health Center has developed expertise in the care of refugees and immigrants with 60% of patients speaking a language other than English. The Health Center provides multi-disciplinary services including primary health care including behavioral health, women’s health services, dental care, care navigation, and house calls.

Integrative Healthcare Settings: Exploring Approaches and Benefits for Refugees

This webinar sought to explore the barriers faced by refugees in accessing both primary healthcare and mental healthcare services and how best to remove these barriers through an integrative healthcare approach. The webinar further discussed team approaches to best coordinate services for refugees through a culturally competent and trauma-informed approach.

Objectives:
-Illustrate how integrative healthcare settings help eliminate barriers, such as transportation and stigma, to accessing mental health care
-Describe how refugee community members and leaders can participate as cultural brokers and health navigators
-Highlight how resettlement sites and other community partners can support an integrative healthcare approach

See a link to the recording here.

See a link to the powerpoint.

Subject Matter Experts

Dana Daugherty, MA, EdM
Behavioral Health Coordinator at the Squirrel Hill Health Center

Dana Daugherty began at Squirrel Hill Health Center in September 2016 as the Behavioral Health Coordinator where she leads the administrative side of the Behavioral Health team, supervises the Peer Support Program, and manages behavioral health referrals and outreach to community partners. Previously, she worked as the Program and Outreach Coordinator at the NYC Metro Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NYC Metro) coordinating their outreach efforts throughout the NYC Metro Area. She also provided mental health counseling in Spanish and English for clients with serious and persistent mental illness at a Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS) day program in NYC. Dana’s college senior thesis included researching Ecuador’s domestic violence laws and counseling women with histories of trauma in a women’s prison in Ecuador.

Dana holds a Master of Education (Ed.M.) in Psychological Counseling and Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Mental Health Counseling from Columbia University (Teachers College), and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies from Dartmouth College.

Katie Fitzsimmons, MSW
Manager of Care Navigation at the Squirrel Hill Health Center

Katie is the Manager of Care Navigation at the Squirrel Hill Health Center in Pittsburgh. Katie’s studies focused on Social Work with refugees at Columbia University. She manages a team who provide care navigation for diverse patient populations, including newly arriving refugees and older adults. Katie’s work takes place at the intersection of the medical and social aspects of healthcare, and she strives to fill in the holes of the “Swiss cheese” of healthcare by addressing all of an individual’s needs. To balance the reality of Social Work, Katie enjoys running and baking.

 

Loss and Healing Case Study

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present:

Loss and Healing Case Study 

This Case Study continues the conversation started in the webinar How Communities Can Respond to Grief providing a more clinical perspective on addressing grief. The interactive format of the Case Study also provided participants with the opportunity to share the challenges and successes they have had with their own cases with colleagues across the country.

The Case Study’s Objectives were as follows:

  • Identify what resettlement agencies can do to support refugees in the healing process
  • Identify specific modalities and techniques utilized by mental health workers when working with refugees to facilitate the healing process
  • Highlight self-care practices for staff working with grieving client

See a link to the recording here.

See the powerpoint here.

Subject Matter Expert

Isabelle Darling, LCSW

Isabelle 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.

How Communities Can Respond to Grief

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present:

How Communities Can Respond to Grief webinar

This webinar is the third installment of NPCT’s series on suicidality among refugee populations. You can review the first two webinars for further context: Addressing Mental Health, PTSD, and Suicide in Refugee Communities; Suicidality Among Refugees. In this webinar we further examine the grief process and how communities can support those experiencing grief by applying skills offered in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings.

This webinar’s objectives are as follows:

  • Highlight signs, symptoms, and coping mechanisms related to grief
  • Provide Mental Health First Aid goals and objectives for communities and how refugee populations have been or are expected to benefit
  • Discuss how trainings, such as MHFA, can raise awareness and educate around grief-related mental health concerns
  • Explore how refugee community leaders can reduce mental health related stigma

See powerpoint here.

See a link to the recording here.

Subject Matter Experts

Parangkush (PK) Subedi, M.S., MPH 
Parangkush Subedi is the Health Program Analyst at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Prior to joining ORR, Mr. Subedi worked at Philadelphia Department of Public Health as a Refugee Health Coordinator from 2012 to 2015, overseeing screening of communicable diseases of newly arrived refugees and immigrants. Before that he worked for over a year at Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in Philadelphia as a Refugee Health Coordinator and Case Manager. Mr. Subedi has published papers on refugee mental health, health seeking behaviors, and tuberculosis over the last three years. He has also written a book chapter for a book titled Refugee Health in Social Setting. Mr. Subedi received a master degree in science from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand in 2006 and another master degree in public health from Emory University, Atlanta in 2011. He is a certified adult mental health first aid instructor.

Azeb Yusuf 
Azeb Yusuf is the Director of the Health and Community Program at the Somali Bantu Community of Greater Houston (SBCGH), which is dedicated to the education and acclimation of refugees and immigrants in the Greater Houston area. Azeb resettled to the United States from Ethiopia, obtained her education through Texas Southern University, and has been an advocate for refugee health care for many years.

Community Engagement Post Webinar-Discussion

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present:

Community Engagement: Refugee-Focused Collaboratives

This Post-Webinar Discussion continues the conversation started in the webinar Community Impact: Effective Messaging and Trauma Informed Care Approaches, further exploring the community engagement strategy of the Refugee Forum of Los Angeles.

The Post Webinar Discussion’s objectives are as follows:

  1. Discuss how community partners can utilize their local expertise to raise awareness and decrease stigma of mental health
  2. Review community engagement strategies used to build and foster community connections
  3. Share ways in which resettlement agencies can best work with national and local partners to enhance community’s mental health perspective

A PDF of the powerpoint is here: Community Engagement PWD PPT, and a link to the Community Engagement PWD Video.

Subject Matter Expert

Carolina Sheinfeld
Since 2016, Carolina Sheinfeld has served as the Chair of the Refugee Forum of Los Angeles, which is comprised of many organizations that encourage its members to create thoughtful and creative community alliances, from which refugees will accrue benefits, provide education and learning opportunities for members and to increase public awareness of the refugees and their vitality in the communities in which they have found homes. Carolina also has worked with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles since 2003, first as an International Human Rights Analyst and most recently as the Project Coordinator for LAFLA’s Torture Survivors Project. With a team of four attorneys and one social worker her program provides legal assistance, case management and community education to refugees and asylum seekers and facilitates the integration process of vulnerable immigrant groups.

Community Impact Webinar

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present:

Community Impact: Effective messaging and trauma informed care approaches 

This webinar offers a presentation of how effective messaging and trauma informed care practices contribute to a healthy and welcoming environment for refugees.

Webinar Objectives

  1. Provide examples of effective messaging around refugee resettlement topics
  2. Highlight messaging tools to aid in reaching different audiences
  3. Explore how trauma informed care can be implemented in various community organizations
  4. Offer examples of collaborating with diverse community members to address refugee mental health

You can find a PDF of the Community Engagement PPT and link to the video here.

Meet the Subject Matter Experts

Hannah Carswell
As project manager of Welcoming America’s Welcoming Refugees project, Hannah Carswell oversees the provision of a variety of technical assistance offerings, which support refugee service providers in building more welcoming communities. After graduating from Berry College in 2008 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Hannah spent a year in Bali studying Indonesian language and culture as a Darmasiswa Scholar. When she returned to the United States, she served as the AmeriCorps English as a Second Language Counselor and New Arrivals Coordinator at Refugee Family Services (now New American Pathways). Hannah earned her Masters in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University.

Andrea Blanch, PhD
Andrea Blanch is a senior consultant for SAMHSA’s National Center on Trauma Informed Care (NCTIC).  She is also Acting Director of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP), a new national organization promoting trauma-informed public policy at the federal, state, local and tribal levels. Andrea also directs a non-profit organization, the Center for Religious Tolerance, which supports interfaith peace building and women’s empowerment in the U.S. and across the globe.

Jane Evans
Jane Evans is the Wellness Program Social Worker at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, an affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries and Church World Service, in Louisville, Kentucky. She began working as KRM’s Mental Health Coordinator in February 2012. Jane works individually with refugee clients to access mental health services and provide intensive case management, performs outreach to community agencies involved in refugee mental health to increase cultural competency and address gaps in service, facilitates adjustment support groups within the local refugee populations, and strives to promote wellness to both refugees and their helpers. She received her MSSW from the University of Louisville in 2010. She is available by email: jevans@kyrm.org

 

You can also find our Post Webinar Discussion, Community Engagement: Refugee Focused Collaboratives, here.

 

 

 

Language Access Webinar

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Language Access: Understand and advocate for your clients’ interpretation rights

See the webinar here.

See the powerpoint presentation here.

Objectives

  • Provide overview of relevant language access policies, such as the Civil Rights Act Title VI and ACA Section 1557
  • Identify Medicaid reimbursement implications for direct service staff and healthcare staff
  • Explore advocacy ideas when working with healthcare organizations

Presenters

Mara Youdelman
Mara Youdelman is the managing attorney in the National Helth Law Program’s (NHeLP) Washington D.C. office. She has worked at NHeLP for more than a decade on issues that include Medicaid, health reform, language access, racial and ethnic disparities, and data collection. Recognized as a national expert on language access in health care settings, Mara has written a number of reports and participated on expert advisory panels on the subject. She is co-author of Ensuring Linguistic Access in Health Care Settings: Legal Rights and Responsibilities and Language Services Resource Guide for Pharmacists. Mara also directed the National Language Access Advocacy Project, funded by the California Endowment to increase awareness of language access issues at the federal level, and served as a Founding Commissioner on the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (www.healthcareinterpretercertification.org). She was named a 2011 Language Access Champion by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care and a 2010 Health Reform Champion by the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education.

Teresita Ramos
Tere Ramos joined the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) as the Language Access attorney in 2015.  She currently focuses her work in ensuring access to justice by limited English proficient (LEP) and Deaf and hard of hearing communities statewide in Massachusetts in all legal areas, including education, healthcare, housing and benefits.  Prior to joining MLRI she was an attorney at the Disability Law Center (DLC) focusing on special education issues related to the Hispanic community across Massachusetts.  Prior to joining DLC, Tere was the Executive Director of Special Education Advocates, a special education and disability advocacy focused on underserved LEP communities.  Tere is the Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Special Education Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Massachusetts Autism Commission’s education sub-committee.

Alternative Approaches to Refugee Mental Health Webinar

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Alternative Approaches to Refugee Mental Health

 

 

See the webinar here.

See the powerpoint presentation here.

Objectives

  • Provide an overview of alternative modalities to refugee mental health
  • Identify replicable tools and approaches to integrating modalities into health and resettlement services
  • Explore the meanings of alternative, non-traditional, complementary, and integrative theories and methods
  • Highlight program frameworks that encourage holistic health care
  • Explore various body-based and art therapy interventions including dance, acupuncture, meditation, and massage

Presenters

Jennifer Shuart, LICSW, RN
Alternative Modality Expertise: Co-counseling clinical model with interpreters and refugee clients
Jennifer received her MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University and focused on macro level practice with an internship in child maltreatment. She has worked in various settings within child and family welfare, including the Department of Children and Families, emergency crisis unit at Children’s Hospital in Boston, and as an intensive home-based therapist working with families and children who struggled with PTSD. Most recently Jennifer completed a direct entry nursing program and is also now a licensed RN in Massachusetts. She is scheduled to begin the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program in Fall 2016 with the ultimate goal of continuing work with refugees.

Amber Elizabeth Gray, MA, MPH, LPCC, BC-DMT, NCC
Alternative Modality Expertise: Integration of somatic and arts-based therapies into clinic work in cross cultural contexts
Amber Gray is an award winning Dance Movement Therapist who has worked in refugee mental health and torture treatment since 1998. She has served as a senior clinician, a clinical director, a director and the founding program coordinator for torture treatment and refugee mental health programs in Colorado, Haiti and New Mexico. She was a Clinical Advisor to The Center for Victims of Torture for two years, and has consulted and provided clinical training on refugee mental health, torture treatment and creative arts, mindfulness, and body-based therapies with survivors and refugees to more than 30 programs worldwide since the 1990’s. As a pioneer for the use of Somatic Psychology, Dance Movement Therapy and Continuum Movement with survivors of torture and refugees, Amber’s expertise in “alternative” and creative arts therapies is represented in many published articles and chapters, keynote addresses, professional collaborations and presentations around the world. She originated a resiliency-based framework and practice (Restorative Movement Psychotherapy) for mind-heart-spirit, somatic, movement and arts-based therapies with survivors of trauma in cross cultural, low resource contexts, and is co-developing Polyvagal-informed Dance Movement Therapy with Dr. Porges, based on the wisdom of whole body intelligence. She currently is Executive Director of The Kint Institute’s Certificate Program for the Arts in Trauma Treatment.

Julia Kuck, PhD
Alternative Modality Expertise: Somatic, equine-assisted, and expressive arts therapies
Julia Kuck is a classically trained neuropsychologist and clinician in private practice, specializing in complex case assessment and treatment of individuals with mood, developmental, psychotic, and trauma-based conditions. She is a non-salaried Assistant Clinical Professor at UC San Diego in the Department of Psychiatry and an Adjunct Professor at Alliant International University where she teaches and mentors graduate and medical students in psychology, couples and family therapy, psychiatry, and medicine. She has felt privileged to work as a contracted clinical provider in assessment and trauma recovery for over 15 years at Survivors of Torture International, helping individuals navigate the asylum and healing process. Her training in Somatic Experiencing and expressive arts has helped clients build awareness of their unique resiliencies that support them along their healing path. She credits her wisest teacher, her horse, in helping her learn that the mind takes a distant third place in healing and relationships, directly behind the instinctual knowing of the gut and the primary wisdom of our first brain – the heart.

E-Learning

The National Partnership for Community Training’s (NPCT) free e-learning course is designed to bring like-minded individuals together to delve into relevant topics and create sustainable action items to address those topics.

 

“Enhancing Refugee Program Sustainability and Substance Use Awareness”

E-Learning Icon

Working in partnership with ORR and SAMHSA, NPCT is offering an E-Learning course that will help state and management level staff working within refugee resettlement learn about best practices, develop strategies for program improvement, and incorporate knowledge gained into local communities. We will be using HealthEKnowledge.org as the online learning platform for the duration of this course.

Objective


The objective of this course is to bring together those within state and management positions of refugee resettlement to discuss identified topics of interest and collaborate with one another to determine improvement strategies for local and national communities.

  1. You will gain knowledge on commonly used substances and effective screening tools that can be implemented in resettlement settings.
  2. You will learn about community and partnership mapping strategies and resources that can be replicated in your state or agency.
  3. You will share your knowledge, understanding & experiences with colleagues through online webinars and discussion board posts.
  4. In collaboration with subject matter experts, each group of participants will bring together what they have learned to determine next steps in improving approaches to substance use and program sustainability.

Presenters


David Duresky, M.A.

David has worked in the field of Social Services, Mental Health and Substance Abuse since 1984 and attained his Masters Degree in 1989.  During that time, he has directed programs for adults and adolescents, providing services along the full continuum of care.  His experience includes supervision of inpatient treatment, detoxification, long and short term residential programs, outpatient and aftercare programs. David maintained a Certified Addictions Professional status during much of his career. David has had the opportunity to be involved in clinical research in the addictions field and was the Project Director on the Marijuana Treatment Project under the direction of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. He has also authored and co-authored on topics related to addictions and Motivational Interviewing as well as Wraparound Training Modules. David has provided over 400 trainings and presentations at local, state and national conferences. In addition, David has provided direct skill set coaching to over 1,000 staff members related to improving proficiency of Evidenced Based Practices.  David currently serves as the Florida Training Manager for the Southern Addictions Technology Transfer Center at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Paul Stein
Paul Stein is an independent consultant in Denver, working with organizations serving refugees and immigrants, and focusing on cross-system frameworks that promote asset development, integration, and program sustainability. Current projects include developing a community engagement toolkit for Welcoming America, and working on a number of community wealth building strategies for The Denver Foundation. 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. 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 multi-disciplinary artist.

Victoria Fear, M.S. Ed.
Victoria Fear serves as Programs Officer at The Miami Foundation. In this role, she maintains knowledge of local nonprofits and manages the grantmaking process for multiple programs to achieve the Foundation’s community investment goals. A three-time AmeriCorps Alum, she has served in Iowa, across the west coast, and in South Florida at Neighborhood Housing Services. Victoria completed her undergraduate degrees at Montclair State University (NJ) and earned her M.S. Ed. in Community and Social Change at the University of Miami (FL). Online everywhere at @vlfear.

Course Description


The E-learning course is divided into two 1-week segments consisting of webinars, reading assignments, and group discussions led by subject matter experts. Participants will be guided through one week of instruction and discussion per topic. Through online classrooms and discussion boards, participants will increase their knowledge on program sustainability and the impact of substance use on refugee services. Participants will collaborate to identify actionable steps and present their action plans to an audience consisting of both participant groups, staff at NPCT, ORR, and SAMHSA during the culminating class.

COURSE TOPICS

Substance Use, Access, Addiction and Refugee Resettlement 
Refugees experience varying degrees of hardship pre and post arrival to their receiving countries. These hardships and experiences of trauma can impact refugees physically, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually and behaviorally. Upon entering resettlement services, refugee clients benefit from successfully engaging in programs that will move them toward self-sufficiency. When integrating into a new culture, the pressure for refugees to succeed is extremely high. For some, substance use becomes a coping strategy to ease the stress of these challenges.

Through this course you will learn how substance use disorders whether alcohol, tobacco, and legal or illegal substances, affects a client’s mental and physical capacity and the impact on resettlement services, refugee success, and community development. Refugee State and Health Coordinators will gain access to information on national data and trends on current substances being used in our communities.

The complex history of policies related to substance use and treatment, and intersections between substance use and access with community issues like poverty will be examined. Directors and Program Managers will explore best practices and guidance for identifying symptoms of substance use and creating an effective referral process that supports refugee services and refugee families. Participants will investigate how effective trauma-informed services can overcome the barriers and impacts of stigma and cultural norms that may be  present in the refugee population.

Program Sustainability
Refugee resettlement has a long history of seeking sustainable resources to secure the success and integration of refugees into our communities. From housing to funding streams, the success of refugee resettlement requires multiple facets of a community. With increasing arrivals and decreasing resources resettlement agencies need to develop creative strategies and services that are resilient to challenges.

Exploring the complex and dynamic process of program development, capacity mapping, and action planning this course will provide you with the opportunity to evaluate your internal processes and external community relationships to enhance mental health service capacity for refugees. State and Health Coordinators will explore developing approaches to support your role as advocates, conveners of information, and change-makers. Agency Directors and Managers will discover best practices for building strategic partnerships, aligning community resources, and developing approaches for increasing funding streams.

Course Outline


Group 1 (Refugee Resettlement Directors and Program Managers)

Module I
October 17th – October 21st
Substance Use
David Duresky

Module II
October 24 – October 28th
Community Foundations: Identifying Partnerships and Diversifying Funding
Victoria Fear, The Miami Foundation

Group 2 (State Refugee and Health Coordinators)

Module I
October 31st – November 4th
Substance Use
David Duresky

Module II
November 7th – November 11th
Program Sustainability
Paul Stein

Groups 1&2

Course Orientation (October 13, 2016)
Final Webinar (November 15, 2016)

Target Audience


This year’s E-Learning course is intended for two participant groups:

 Participant Group  Course Dates
  • Refugee Resettlement Directors
  • Program Managers
 Oct 17, 2016 –  Oct 28, 2016
  • State Refugee Coordinators
  • Refugee Health Coordinators
 Oct 31, 2016 –  Nov 11, 2016

Time Commitment and Participation Requirement


The course will last two (2) weeks and will take about 5 hours per week.  Internet access is required in order to participate in course work.

Each segment of the course will consist of an in-depth look at each topic. Each week participants will engage in activities including a live webinar presented by a subject matter expert, self-paced readings of trending articles and resources, and online discussions with experts and colleagues. Participants are expected to commit fully to this course. Each participant is required to  post online reflections on readings, webinar presentation, and colleague comments.

With the support of NPCT and subject matter experts, participants will be asked to identify next steps they will take to enhance their service capacity for refugees beyond this course.  Opportunities such as authoring blog posts and being interviewed to highlight your work will be offered to interested participants.

Limited Space


Enrollment will be limited to fifteen (15) participants.

Certificates


Certificates of completion will be provided for participants that complete the course and meet all mandatory requirements of the course within the required time frame.

 

E-learning Project Success Story

Suicidality Among Refugees

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Suicidality Among Refugees: Program Approaches and Community Responses 

See the webinar here.

See the powerpoint presentation here.

Objectives

  • Discuss research conducted on refugee suicides and subsequent recommendations for stakeholders
  • Highlight current grass roots initiatives addressing suicide prevention and intervention with refugee communities
  • Identify common mental health perceptions within refugee populations and suggestions for improved program responses to suicidality

Presenters

Sharmila Shetty, M.D.
Dr. Sharmila Shetty currently works as a medical epidemiologist in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Dr. Shetty completed her medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and after completing her residency in Pediatrics at North Shore University Hospital in NY, she worked with refugees and internally displaced populations as a clinician with Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) in Lebanon, Uganda, and Sudan. She completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Fellowship in applied epidemiology at the CDC from 2002-2004, after which she then spent a year doing post-tsunami recovery work in Banda Aceh, Indonesia with the Red Cross. From 2009-2014, Dr. Shetty worked as a medical epidemiologist in the Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch at the CDC, during which time she was a co-principal investigator on an investigation into suicides among Bhutanese refugees in the US.

Chhabi Sharma, MBBS
Dr Chhabi Sharma is originally from Gaylegphug Bhutan. He has worked in Bhutan as the District Medical Officer. After he became a refugee, Dr. Sharma worked for eight years with UNHCR in Nepal, caring for Bhutanese Nepali refugees. He completed his psychiatry residency at Hennepin-Regions Psychiatry Program Minnesota in 2011, where he served as Chief Resident in Psychiatry. He is currently a Board Certified psychiatrist working at HealthPartners, and spends part of his clinical time at HealthPartners Center for International Health. Dr. Sharma has recently  been appointed by the University of Minnesota, Global Health Program as the Nepal Site Coordinator for Global Health Faculty.

Henny Ohr
Henny Ohr is Co-Founder and Executive Director of EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center), a community led grassroots organization dedicated to supporting refugees from Burma resettled in Iowa.  Prior to joining EMBARC, she was the Executive Officer for the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and the Status of Women at the Dept. of Human Rights, where she advocated for equitable access to resources for marginalized communities.  Ms. Ohr immigrated to the US from Korea as a child, and has been committed to working for immigrant and refugee rights throughout her career.  Ms. Ohr received her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Mental Health Interpretation: Program Structures and Funding Challenges

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Mental Health Interpretation: Program Structures and Funding Challenges

 

The objectives of this webinar are to:

  1. Provide an overview of three different program structures and approaches to providing interpretation
  2. Discuss effective sourcing and training for mental health interpreters
  3. Identify common challenges to identifying and accessing funding interpretation for mental health

Download a PDF of the slides here.

Click the video below to view the webinar.

 

This presenters for this webinar include:

  • Brent Pace, L.C.S.W.
    Brent Pace is currently the Clinical Director at Utah Health and Human Rights(UHHR); a torture treatment program located in Salt Lake City, UT. Brent provides consultation, training, and outreach to partners and others in the community and supervises the clinical and case management staff at the agency. Prior to joining UHHR, Brent worked as a therapist at the Center for Human Potential, where he continues to do general outpatient therapy part-time. Prior to that, he worked with juveniles who had offended sexually, and directed the Salt Lake Observation and Assessment Program for Utah’s Juvenile Justice Services. He specializes in working with survivors of torture and serious trauma as well as those in recovery from sexual, organizational, and other kinds of abuse. Brent runs mind-body skills groups with certification through the Center for Mind-Body Medicine. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in French from Brigham Young University and his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. When he’s not working, Brent loves taking photos, reading and writing poetry, watching international and independent films, spending time outdoors, collecting bow ties, and regularly traveling with his husband to France.
  • Dr. Hawthorne Smith, Ph.D.
    Dr. 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.
  • Sylvia Acevedo, L.L.M.
    Sylvia is the Program Director overseeing the Florida Center for Survivors of TortureRefugee 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.

Ahmed Family

Welcome to NPCT’s Ahmed refugee family!

Ahmed Family

WHO:

Grandmother 70 years old

Mother 30 years old

Father 36 years old

Son 13 years old

Daughter 12 years old

Son 4 years old

 

WHY:

The decision to use an African family is multi-faceted. Not only are the projected 2016 arrival numbers comprised of a proposed 25,000 arrivals from Africa (see report here), but due to complicated racial dynamics in America the representation of a brown-skinned family from Africa allows for multiple entry points of dialogue related to race and the refugee experience.

Similarly related, the decision to represent the family as Muslim invites participants to think critically about the definition of being a “welcoming community” and the responsibility service providers have to understand the complex constellation of identities that our newest arrivals carry.

The Ahmed family is meant to reflect some of the clients you may be working with, to inspire conversation around tangible examples on our various training topics, and to be a common ground for critical thought related to enhancing mental health services.

Mental Health Screening Tools and Referral Network

The National Partnership of Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Mental Health Screening Tools and Referral Network

 

The objectives of this webinar are to:
  1. Discuss the importance of identifying and addressing refugee mental health issues through screenings
  2. Discuss how to implement effective screening tools in your programs and train staff on using various instruments
  3. Highlight three different programmatic approaches to using screening tools and building referral networks
  4. Address common barriers to streamlining screening results into effective referrals group.

This presenters for this webinar include:

  • Annie G. Bonz is a Mental Health Technical Advisor for U.S. and Global Health programs at IRC. She is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) in New York and a National Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC), with an MA in Art Therapy from New York University. In her current role, she provides technical guidance to IRC staff implementing mental health and psychosocial support programming.  Prior to joining IRC in August 2014, Annie worked with New York area non-profits in the design and implementation of trauma-informed psychotherapeutic services for children and adolescents, including the provision of clinical services for unaccompanied minors from Central America at an ORR shelter in New York.  She also spent nearly a decade in East Africa, serving in multiple leadership roles for refugee processing at the Church World Service Resettlement Support Center in Nairobi.  Her time based in East Africa included travel to refugee camps throughout Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, where she interviewed and provided support to teams interviewing refugees from across the region.  She also served as a Health Educator with Peace Corps (RPCV Kenya).  Throughout her career, Annie has provided technical support and training to field and program staff, integrating clinical and non-clinical programmatic best practices in service to individuals impacted by conflict and displacement.
  • Amber Gray has worked in refugee mental health and torture treatment since 1998. She 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 consulted and provided clinical training on refugee mental health and torture treatment to more than 30 programs worldwide.  Amber is a frequent speaker on topics related to refugee mental health, torture treatment, and the integration of somatic and arts-based therapies into clinical work with survivors of trauma in cross cultural contexts. 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.
  • Sasha Verbillis-Kolp is a clinical social worker with a focus on global mental health, international development and forced migration studies. Recently, she served as the evaluation coordinator for the Pathways to Wellness project where she helped develop the Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15) a mental health screening tool used to detect trauma, depression and anxiety symptoms in refugees. She provides consultation and technical assistance to health sites implementing mental health screening for refugees. She manages a program for psycho-social services for refugees in an outpatient mental health clinic in Portland Oregon. She focuses on community-level interventions for refugees that promote emotional health and well-being, culturally appropriate clinical assessment and treatment planning. She frequently lectures on refugee health disparities, cross-cultural treatment approaches and psycho-social interventions. She is chair of a Task Force for Refugee Emotional Health in the Portland area, and serves as an Oregon representative to the American Association of Refugee Health Coordinators- Refugee Emotional Wellness Work

Download a PDF of the slides here

Click the video below to view the webinar

Introduction to NPCT’s Refugee Mental Health Approach

The National Partnership of Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Overview of Needs Assessment and Introduction to Refugee Mental Health

The objectives of this webinar are to:
  1. Discuss needs assessment results and common barriers refugees face when accessing mental health services
  2. Provide an overview of technical assistance activities planned throughout the year
  3. Discuss the importance of addressing mental health among refugee populations for programs of all structures and levels
This webinar is presented by NPCT:
  • Melodie Kinet, Director
  • Isabelle Darling, Clinical Lead
  • Jennifer Lange, Project Coordinator

Download a PDF of the slides here

Click the video below to view the webinar

Refugee Youth Services client participates in US Refugee Youth Consultation in D.C. 2/20

Refugee Youth Services youth client, Matthew T. from Congo, participated at the U.S. Refugee Youth Consultation in Washington, DC on February 20-22, 2016.Mathew 3 Mathew 1

Mathew is 19 year old Congolese refugee who arrived to the U.S in August 2015. Mathew is taking GED classes, and his goal is to become a doctor dedicating his life to helping others.

The conference was sponsored by UNHCR, the United Nations agency that serves refugees internationally. The goal of the U.S. Refugee Youth Consultation was to hear the voices of a diverse set of refugee and migrating youth on their experiences during the flight from their native country, during the stay in the asylum country, as well as their life in the United States.

Mathew and other sixteen conference participants from the nation attended workshops focusing on promoting dialogue and providing an environment for refugee youth to build alliances and networks at a national and global level, to emerge as leaders, and provide participation and a voice from refugee youth resettled in the United States at the 2016 UNHCR-NGO Consultations at Geneva Switzerland.

Miami Refugee Youth Program Receives Sweaters

12265824_1156613841032871_8024036376483123142_oOnce again Gulf Coast JFCS would like to thank TD Bank for the sweaters they donated to our Miami Refugee Youth Program. 40 sweaters were distributed to refugee teens from Cuba earlier this week. The first question that our clients had when we gave them their sweaters was how much was it going to cost. When we explained that it was a donation form TD bank, they wanted us all to know how thankful they were.  TD Bank donated more than 5000 sweaters to Gulf Coast JFCS and we have distributed the sweaters to hundreds of clients around the state.  To learn more about Gulf Coast JFCS’ work with refugees http://gulfcoastjewishfamilyandcommunityservices.org/refugee/refugee-programs/

Reducing Refugee Mental Health Stigma by Leveraging Refugee Community Leaders to Educate Providers

The National Partnership of Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Reducing Refugee Mental Health Stigma by Leveraging Refugee Community Leaders to Educate Providers

Refugees face many stressors adjusting to life in a new country. This webinar will focus on reducing the stigma around mental health issues from providers and within refugee communities by leveraging refugee community leaders to engage with providers and relevant agencies.
The objectives of this webinar are to:
  1. Discuss strategies for reducing mental health stigma within refugee communities
  2. Discuss strategies for reducing mental health stigma by providers
  3. Understand the benefits of establishing partnerships between community leaders and mental health clinics
  4. Understand the benefits of performing outreach to state and health coordinators, as well as to agencies, to advocate for refugee mental health issues
This webinar is presented by:
  • Parangkush Subedi, MS, MPH, Health Policy Analyst at the Office of Refugee Resettlement
  • Nancy Kelly, M Ed, Public Health Advisor at SAMHSA

Download a PDF of the slides here

Click the slide below to view the webinar

  • Parangkush (PK)  Subedi, MPH, MS, is a health policy analyst who joined Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in early July from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  At the health department, he served as a refugee health coordinator, facilitating the evaluation and treatment of infectious diseases among newly arrived refugees and immigrants.  Previously, he worked at a refugee resettlement agency (HIAS-PA) in Philadelphia, overseeing initial health screening of refugees as a case manager and health coordinator.  Mr. Subedi has been actively involved in mental health and suicide prevention activities for Bhutanese refugees in various cities.
  • Nancy Kelly, M Ed has had 30 years of experience in the field of education. Ms. Kelly is currently employed as a public health advisor at SAMHSA. She works for the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). Before arriving at CMHS, she served as a project director and senior training and technical assistance specialist with Education Development Center, Inc. Ms. Kelly was assigned to work with the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention providing training and technical assistance on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students project and the Tribal Youth Program. She served as Project Director for the Improving Mental Health Assessment and Service Delivery for Youth Expelled from Schools in California study funded by the California Endowment Fund. Ms. Kelly also served in grant programs related to substance abuse prevention and intervention, mental health prevention/early intervention, academic success, violence prevention, and social/emotional well-being.

Information Guide: The Role of Advocacy in Capacity Building

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the Information Guide: The Role of Advocacy in Capacity Building.

This information guide can assist you in advocating for greater support for your agencies in order to better assist your clients. The bond between advocacy and capacity building led to the signing of the Torture Victims Relief Act by President Clinton in 1998 and its subsequent reauthorization. Continued advocacy can strengthen the refugee resettlement program by guaranteeing that refugees, torture survivors, asylees, and asylum seekers are given the utmost support upon resettlement in the U.S. thereby leading to successful integration.

Download the information guide here
In addition, NPCT has collected additional resources to assist you in your advocacy campaigns:

A new life for a survivor of torture

Staff & Survivors interviewed by El Nuevo Herald speak of the impact of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture a program of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture.

“FCST provides linkage to survivors through their network of providers that includes psychologists, social workers, interpreters, lawyers, and medical as well as others.”

The article can be read in English here

herald

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 (www.LIVIBRANCE.com), 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.