Staff from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma

Richard Mollica

Richard F. Mollica, MD, MAR 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). Over the past two 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.

Dr. Mollica has received numerous awards for his work and is the author of the newly published book Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World(link is external). In 1993, he received the human rights award from the American Psychiatric Association. In 1996, the American Orthopsychiatry Association presented him with the Max Hymen Award. In 2000 he was awarded a visiting professorship to Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, for his contributions during the Kobe earthquake. In 2001 he was selected as a Fulbright New Century scholar. Under Dr. Mollica’s direction, HPRT conducts training, policy and research activities for traumatized populations around the world. HPRT’s screening instruments are considered a gold standard in the field and have been widely translated into over thirty languages. HPRT’s scientific work has helped place mental health issues at the center of the recovery of post-conflict societies.

Dr. Mollica has published over 160 scientific articles. He and his team over the past 30 years have cared for over 10,000 survivors of extreme violence worldwide. Through his research, clinical work and trainings he is recognized as a leader in the treatment and rehabilitation of traumatized people and their communities.

James Lavelle

James Lavelle, LICSW, 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 39 years working as a clinician, educator, researcher, and community organizer helping to pioneer the field of refugee mental health. With his HPRT colleagues and their in-country partners, James participated in innovative trainings of primary-care physicians and mental health professionals and paraprofessionals in Thailand, Cambodia, Croatia and Bosnia. Finally, he participated in a training consultation in Peru with HPRT’s collaborating center, the University of San Marcos Medical School. James has worked with his HPRT team in conducting major epidemiological research in these societies. He also co-founded the world famous Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic (IPC) in Boston in 1981 with Dr. Richard Mollica after starting his career in 1978 as Director of the Indochinese Refugee Mental Health Program sponsored by a group called Research for Social Change Inc. IPC has morphed since the year 2000 into a new and improved clinical service for individuals and families entitled “A Statewide Network of Local Care for Survivors of Torture,” based at Lynn Community Health Center (funded by the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement).

James is a member of the international faculty of the “Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery Certificate Program.” This program incorporates lecture-based training held in the cities of Porano and Orvieto, Italy followed by five months of web-based learning, aimed at developing a “Community of Practice” of faculty and participants. This unique training is the major vehicle for the dissemination of the Mental Health Action Plan and Book of Best Practices generated through HPRT’s policy initiative: Project 1 Billion.

James Lavelle, LICSW, has conducted hundreds of trainings and workshops and has co-authored scores of publications. With a little help from his HPRT friends, he has had the honor of offering clinical care to over 10,000 survivors of war, torture and violence. He remains pathologically optimistic due to the fact that he thoroughly enjoys working toward world peace with the “Best and the Brightest” over the past 36 years. He cautions however: “We’ve met a lot of zany people along the way.”