Training medical providers on forensic examines for torture survivors

Nov 14, 2015

Some refugees seeking asylum in Buffalo have experienced or witnessed torture in their countries. WBFO's Eileen Buckley say the Western New York Center for Survivors of Torture is working to train doctors to assist in the on-going treatment of these victims.

Dr. Kim Griswold, MD, of UB, serves as Medical Director at WNY Survivors of Torture.
Credit Photo from the University at Buffalo website

"And these are folks who have undergone torture at the hands of individual governments across the world that are experiencing conflict," explained Dr. Kim Griswold, University at Buffalo Professor & Medical Director of the Western New York Center for Survivors of Torture.

The Center, which opened last year, is a collaboration with Jewish Family Service of Buffalo, Journeys End and the Jacobs School of Medicine.  It's been estimated that there are about 15,000 refugees living in the region who survived torture.

"But it is a very difficult thing for them to tell and it's a difficult thing for the students and us to hear. But if there case goes through the immigration courts and they are granted asylum, they will be safe and they will then be able to live here and contribute to our life here and our community," said Griswold.

"Do they described what's happened to them?," asked Buckley.  "They must actually described what happened to them because we have to write that for their case in court," responded Griswold.

The survivors experience both physical and mental scares and often find it difficult to adjust to living life in the United States.

Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  at UB's North Campus in Amherst training will be provided to local practitioners on how to conduct forensic examines on these survivors.  The Human Rights Clinic is partnering with the Western New York Center for Survivors of Torture to provide this training.  The training event was organized by UB medical students. Nearly 90-individuals are expected and it will include the New York City based Health Right International.