189742 Addressing healthcare for torture survivors in our communities:

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:50 PM

Ben Achtenberg , Refuge Media Project, Boston, MA
An estimated 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. have been victims of politically motivated torture. They come here from Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia some legally, some undocumented, some with families and some alone. They live in major American cities and in small towns. Some survivors bear visible scars, but many more have been wounded in ways that remain hidden. Some may visit clinics, primary healthcare providers, or hospital emergency rooms seeking relief from their suffering, but many fail to receive appropriate care because the clinicians who see them are unaware of their patients' backgrounds or the causes of their symptoms.

In all of our communities, there is a growing need for a better-informed and connected healthcare community, trained to identify and respond to the growing and increasingly vulnerable population of torture survivors in the U.S.

Clips will be shown from Refuge, a 30-minute documentary film (in progress) on the identification, treatment and support of immigrant survivors of political torture now living in the United States.

In collaboration with torture treatment centers, an educational distributor, survivors themselves and other collaborators, The Refuge Media Project is launching a campaign to reach out to communities across the country and use the film as a tool to engage healthcare, mental health and social service providers and students, community organizers and groups serving immigrant communities.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session participants will be able to: 1.) Understand some of the unique healthcare needs of torture survivors, and some of the barriers they face in obtaining appropriate care; 2.) Recognize the need to educate themselves and the healthcare community on how to identify and serve torture survivors among their immigrant clients; 3.) Discuss strategies to more effectively confront healthcare issues and advance health and healing among this population; 4.) Know where to turn for advice and additional resources.

Keywords: Refugees, Migrant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: producer of the film Refuge
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.