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.

Laura Pizer Gueron

Laura Pizer Gueron has been a physical therapist for 34 years. She graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983 with a BS in PT, received a master’s degree in Public Health Education from the University of Minnesota in 1990, and then her clinical doctorate in PT from Shenandoah University in 2010. She completed her Therapeutic Pain Specialist certification in 2016. 
Laura has been affiliated with the Center for Victims of Torture for 27 years, including 22 years as a volunteer physical therapist with clients in Minnesota and 5 years as the Physiotherapy Clinical Advisor for

Ellen Silver Highfield

Ellen Silver Highfield has over 30 years experience as an acupuncturist. She is the Director of Acupuncture Programs and Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center. She is also an Associate in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Adjunct Professor at the New England School of Acupuncture. She was instrumental in the inception of four free-care clinics at Boston Medical Center and has worked on NIH-funded projects to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in various populations. 

Craig Higson-Smith, MA

Director of Research, Center for Victims of Torture
As monitoring and evaluation advisory, Mr. Higson-Smith works to strengthen the capacity of Partners in Trauma Healing partner centers to evaluate the effectiveness of their clinical interventions. He brings to the position over 20 years of experience in the torture treatment field including previous work with CVT. In 2005, he began his partnership with CVT as the International Capacity Building African Regional Consultant. More recently, Mr. Higson-Smith has served as the clinical consultant to the Trauma Healing Initiative - Africa

Joan Hodges-Wu

Joan Hodges-Wu, MA, serves as the Program Advisor to the International Institute of Connecticut’s Survivors of Torture program.  With ten years experience providing direct and non-direct services to low-income, limited English, vulnerable immigrant populations, Joan is also responsible for two case management training series as part of Center for Victims of Torture’s National Capacity Building Project.  Joan holds a Masters in Refugee Care from the University of Essex in England and is currently a MSW candidate at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is the Clinical Therapist and Supervisor of the Center for Well-Being at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Tucson.  She obtained her B.A. in Peace, Conflict, and Global Studies from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin in 2006 with a Field Emphasis in Counseling and Conflict Resolution.  After volunteering and living in inner city Chicago for a few years, she earned her M.A.

Michael Hollifield

Dr. Michael Hollifield recently joined the staff at Long Beach VA as medical director of the Program for Traumatic Stres. Previously, Dr. Hollifield held positions at the University of New Mexico and the University of Louisville where he was medical director of biobehavioral oncology and the anxiety disorders program. Most recently he was a research scientist at the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest. Dr. Hollifield received his M.D.

Christine M. Hyland, CFRE

Director of Development


Chris Hyland has raised millions of dollars for social service programs, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, and arts groups. She has spent her professional career working on behalf of various social justice issues and with diverse communities. She has a personal commitment to working with the poor and marginalized. Chris was the first director of resource development for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and has consulted at Catholic Charities USA.