Online Program

Refuge: Caring for survivors of torture

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Ben Achtenberg, MA (Communications), The Refuge Media Project, Jamaica Plain, MA
It has been estimated that as many as 500,000 to a million immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the United States 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 very much 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. Throughout the United States, healthcare and social service professionals and students have mobilized to respond to their needs. REFUGE documents the work of five treatment programs, in four metropolitan areas – programs that offer compassionate care to survivors needing health, mental health, and social services. Through the moving stories of nine survivors (out of more than 20 interviewed) as well as the physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists who work with them, audiences will get a vivid picture of this hidden crisis. REFUGE, along with the wealth of other media and print resources being developed with it, will increase public awareness and understanding of the situations of torture survivors and their families; help providers recognize torture survivors among their immigrant clients; demonstrate ways that providers can effectively confront the issues that are unique to immigrant torture survivors; and motivate, inspire and empower clinicians and students to meet the needs of this growing and increasingly vulnerable population.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Identify immigrant clients or patients who may be survivors of torture; Evaluate the healthcare, mental health, and social service needs of such individuals; Design and deliver appropriate care to survivors of torture.

Keyword(s): Torture, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been making social issue documentaries for over 35 years. My films on topics including medical ethics, healthcare for the homeless, end-of-life care, and disabilities have received an Academy Award nomination, seven CINE Golden Eagles and a first-place in “Issues and Ethics” from the National Health and Medical Film Festival among other awards. For my film, REFUGE, I have been researching and documenting the problems of immigrant torture survivors for over six years.
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.