Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Train the Trainer: Meeting the Health Needs of Refugee Torture Survivors

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

July 31, 2013


Finger Lakes






Since the approval of the U.S. Refugee Act in 1980, 3 million refugees have resettled in the United States.

In New York, 90% of refugees have resettled upstate, with more than 50% residing in the counties of Monroe, Onondaga, and Oneida. Rochester—one of the largest recipients of resettled refugees and asylum seekers in the State—is home to more than 5,300 refugees, receiving more than 700 new refugees annually. Unfortunately, many of these refugees were victims of torture. Torture survivors require specialized care that is individually tailored and coordinated across multiple areas of assistance, which can include psychological and medical treatment, legal representation related to immigration, and supportive social services. NYHealth awarded Catholic Family Center (CFC) a grant to provide its staff members with specialized training, technical assistance, and evaluation services related to assisting torture survivors.

Under this grant, CFC partnered with the Western New York Torture Survivor Center and Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and Erie County to screen, identify, and make appropriate referrals for refugees who have survived torture. Having enhanced its own expertise, CFC then trained other refugee-serving organizations throughout the counties of Monroe, Onondaga, and Oneida in the screening and identification of torture survivors. Once identified, survivors were referred to the Western New York Torture Survivor Center for treatment. Numerous agencies in Rochester that work with refugee populations operate in either formal or informal collaboration with CFC, including Rochester General Hospital, Monroe County Department of Health, and other community-based organizations. CFC’s strong partnerships with these agencies enable CFC to train the staff members of these agencies, thereby broadening the reach of this work.