Healing Centers

Stories from the Field 3

This episode of Stories from the Field features Abdallah Boumediene from ACCESS in Michigan, and Aaron/Hari Acharya from HealthRight in New York, speaking about what brought them to work in the field of torture treatment. Boumediene talks about how he came to ACCESS from a background in healthcare administration, but how his work with the torture survivors program at ACCESS was colored by his own experiences in Algeria during the French occupation.

Stories from the Field 2

This episode of Stories from the Field features Carolina Sheinfeld from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Sheinfeld, an international human rights analyst, came to the work through volunteering.

Sheinfeld says that the thing that keeps her going is the diversity of the client base, and their different experiences in life. Your work changes their life. Keep self-care in mind because there's something called Secondary Trauma, and avoiding it is not a useful approach.

Stories from the Field 1

This episode of Stories from the Field features Svang Tor from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, and Megan Berthold from the Program for Torture Victims in Los Angeles, speaking about what brought them to work in the field of torture treatment. Tor, a survivor of the Killing Fields in Cambodia, talks about the loss and difficulty of her arrival in the United States in 1981, but how her grandfather's exhortation to "do good" inspired her to work with torture survivors. To do good, "You don't need money.

Inspiring Patients, Traumatic Stories: Finding Balance at Libertas

By Valerie Thompson, CVT volunteer

When you speak with Dr. Dinali Fernando you get the impression that she thrives in a certain controlled chaos. You know immediately that she is enthusiastic, animated and very, very passionate.

Dr. Dinali Fernando, Libertas Center for Human RightsDr. Dinali Fernando, MD, MPH is the Medical Director of the Libertas Center for Human Rights in Queens, New York, as well as an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at Elmhurst Hospital and an Assistant Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It was while doing a graduate internship in immigrant and refugee health in medical school that Dr. Fernando’s long-term career goals came into focus.

The Healing Power of Friendship

By CVT Intern Joseph Walker

“From the depths of despair, loss of hope, separation from family, fears of being rejected for asylum and being sent back to dangerous environments, to hope, confidence and joy.” This is how Ben Kohler describes the changes he sees in the clients he volunteers with.

Healing By Nature

By CVT Intern Joseph Walker

“The Garden of Healing at the Center for Victims of Torture symbolizes our mission: hope, healing and renewal,” says Holly Ziemer, CVT’s Director of Communications. “Plants, like people, go through cycles that present challenges and opportunities.

Privilege and Giving Back

by Valerie Thompson, CVT volunteer

Lisa Matos of HealthRight International is privileged and she will tell you so. She will also tell you that it is this sense of being fortunate that drives her to work for others.

“I was a privileged immigrant,”

Transition from stand-alone nonprofit to embedded program is complex but rewarding

By Valerie Thompson, CVT Volunteer

It’s been just about a year now since Survivors International, based in the Bay Area, was brought under the umbrella of the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco General Hospital Trauma Recovery Center.

The Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights: Collaborating for Comprehensive Services

by CVT volunteer Lara Palmquist

The Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) started as a small clinic in 1998 and now provides a range of services to approximately 450 survivors of torture from more than 70 countries.

A spirit of collaboration has guided the center’s mission

Innovation and partnership in Philadelphia

By CVT intern Madelyn Nelson

It’s a familiar story for many service providers for victims of torture: a client walks into an office wanting help and the organization must find and administer the most appropriate medical, legal, psychological, and/or social help available. At the Philadelphia

A Tight-Knit Community Heals Individually

By CVT Intern Mary Hellmich

The tight-knit community at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, located in Dearborn, Michigan, is a pillar for its success as a healing center.

ACCESS uses a holistic approach to treating refugees and torture survivors.

Collaboration key at Virginia treatment program

Story by CVT volunteer Patricia Busse

Collaboration is a key part of the success of the Program for Survivors of Torture and Severe Trauma in Falls Church, VA.
Having case managers, psychiatrists and an attorney all working under one roof makes scheduling simpler and transportation more convenient

Maine city partners with local nonprofits to provide torture survivor services

Story by CVT volunteer Patricia Busse

For 12 years, the city of Portland, Maine, has been helping unanticipated secondary migrant refugees assimilate to the city, find housing and employment, and get connected with other social services.

But over the years, the city’s Refugee Services program

Treating trauma by ‘doing’

Story by CVT volunteer Patricia Busse

Clients at Chicago’s Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center have found themselves chopping onions, digging in a garden and even beekeeping as part of therapy sessions coordinated by Occupational Therapist Mary Black.
Black started as a volunteer at the Kovler

Utah center expands options for treating chronic pain

Story by CVT volunteer Patricia Busse

It was a common scenario at Utah’s Health and Human Rights.

A client would come in complaining of pain in their joints and their neck, and additional pain medication wasn’t helping.


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