Stories about: Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center (RTRC)

Dispatch from Jordan: Improving care for war-wounded Syrian refugee youth

Syrian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan
IMAGE: ADOBE STOCK

Why should I listen to you, an American, Harvard psychologist? What do you know about war and hunger? Why should I trust that you’re here to help? What makes you different than all the other researchers who come to Jordan just to collect data and leave?

All good questions; hard ones, yes, but critical to answer if I wanted to be of any support to Jordanian healthcare systems in improving quality of care for Syrian refugee youth and families seeking refuge in the region.

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Noteworthy: B. Heidi Ellis, PhD, honored for pioneering work with refugee children

Caring for refugee children

Refugee children and teens are an especially vulnerable population. Many of them experience trauma, either in war-torn home countries or during flight. And when they arrive in the U.S., refugee families continue to face stressors that make healthy adjustment difficult, including poverty and discrimination. These and other stressors can contribute to mental health issues, and cultural barriers, stigma and a lack of knowledge about mental health services make these issues harder to treat.

In partnership with refugee communities and agencies, Boston Children’s Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center (RTRC), under the guidance of Director, B. Heidi Ellis, PhD, develops prevention and intervention programs, conducts research, and develops resources to assist refugee families and providers serving refugee populations. RTRC staff regularly provide training and consultation on refugee youth mental health across the country, reaching more than 850 providers in the past six months.

In recognition of her pioneering work with refugee children and teens, Ellis was awarded Boston Children’s 2017 David S. Weiner Award for Leadership and Innovation in Child Health — an award honoring the exceptional work of an employee, health care provider or faculty. …Read More