Experts

HealTorture draws experts from across the country and around the world to speak and write on topics in the field of torture rehabilitation. Click on an expert's name to learn more about them and check out their presentations and/or articles.

Leslie E. Velez

Leslie E. Vélez is the Senior Protection Officer at the UNHCR Regional Office in Washington, where she leads the U.S. Protection Unit. 

Prior to joining UNHCR in May 2012, she was the director of Access to Justice at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).  There Leslie oversaw LIRS’ legal and social service programs which provide services to refugees, asylum-seekers, torture survivors, and other immigrants in, and released from, detention.

Amy-Jo C. Versolato

Amy-Jo C. Versolato, Institutional Relations Officer, The Center for Victims of Torture

Amy-Jo Versolato has been working in international nonprofits for more than 12 years, focusing on U.S. government and intergovernmental (United Nations, European Commission) contract writing and management. She holds a bachelor's degree in international relations and French from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Greg Vinson

Greg Vinson, PhD is a Senior Researcher and Evaluation Manager at the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis-St.Paul.  He received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, with an emphasis in statistics and measurement.  Dr. Vinson plans and oversees evaluation, measurement, and research efforts for domestic and international CVT programs, consults and collaborates with universities, governments, & other NGOs, and conducts and presents evaluation and research findings to local, national, and international audiences.

Maria Vukovich, PhD

Center for Victims of Torture Research Associate

Dr. Vukovich serves as co-principal investigator on the Healing Hearts RCT examining the effectiveness of embedding trauma-specialized MH and targeted case management services in primary health clinics in Twin Cities and a CBPR project evaluating the Minnesota’s mental health screening and referral processes for newly arrived refugees in partnership with University of Minnesota. Additionally, she provides technical leadership for research and evaluation on CVT’s direct service and capacity building programs.

Abbey Weiss, PsyD, LP

Psychotherapist and trainer

The Center for Victims of Torture

Abbey Weiss, PsyD, LP is a psychotherapist and trainer at The Center for Victims of Torture. Dr. Weiss obtained her Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University/Twin Cities. She is licensed by the Minnesota Board of Psychology as a Licensed Psychologist. At the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), Dr. Weiss has a position as a psychotherapist providing psychological evaluation and treatment services for clients.

Carol White

Carol White is the outgoing manager of CVT’s National Capacity-building Project.  She has worked at CVT since 2000, managing the NCB project since 2004. She has a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in early childhood education from Stanford University, and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She has managed primary care clinics and agencies for underserved populations (homeless adults and families, urban adolescents, low income urban pregnant women) in Minnesota for nine years previously.

John Wilkinson, MA

Mr. Wilkinson is the Manager of Legal Services at PSOT.  He has served as BIA-Accredited Representative with the program since 2011.  He represents clients in their applications for asylum, family reunification, permanent residency, citizenship, employment authorization, green card lottery, and refugee travel documents.  In addition, he identifies and refers clients for pro bono legal representation and services. He serves as a contact point for lawyers requesting documentation for clients they are representing from the Program.

Ann Marie Willhoite

Ann Marie Willhoite

International Clinical Advisor
The Center for Victims of Torture

Ms. Willhoite has worked for the past two years as International Clinical Advisor for Mental Health in CVT’s International Services programs, where she oversees capacity building of mental health services for torture treatment centers around the world, provides clinical supervision for embedded psychologists, and works on global mental health advocacy in Washington. Previously, Ms.

Stanton Wood, MFA

Strategic Initiatives Officer for US Programs at the Center for Victims of Torture 

Stanton Wood has worked at CVT since 2010 where he serves on the new project development group for domestic client services, and was part of the leadership team that designed and launched two integrated behavioral health projects at CVT: Healing Hearts, a partnership with two primary care clinics in Saint Paul, Mn, and Thrive, a partnership with the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, Ga.

Michaela L. Zajicek-Farber

Michaela L. Zajicek-Farber, MSW, LCSW-C, BCD, PhD, is Associate Professor with Tenure at the National Catholic School of Social Service.

Dr. Farber received her Ph.D. in Social Work from The Catholic University of America in 1990. Her dissertation was on Stress experience in parents raising a child with Down syndrome as related to the child’s transitional developmental period, parents’ appraisal of the child’s handicapping condition, and their personal coping and social resources. Dr. Farber also has an M.S.W. in Social Work from the same institution (1979), and a B.A.

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