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Former Refugee, Now a Psychiatrist Treating Refugees in St. Paul, Among Presenters

ALBANY (May 31, 2016) — When people around the world seek asylum from terrible conditions, how do social workers respond to their trauma? When families are forced to leave their homes with no money or resources, how do aid organizations guide them to safe, new communities?

A two-day conference at The College of Saint Rose will address these and other serious questions that social workers, mental health counselors, doctors, community organizers and policy makers around the world face as the global refugee crisis unfolds.

The EVER Changing World: 4th International Conference will be held Wednesday, June 8, and Thursday, June 9, in Saint Joseph Hall, 985 Madison Ave., Albany, New York. The conference is sponsored by the Institute of Community Research and Training (ICRT), a program at Saint Rose that engages faculty across the disciplines in projects that address homelessness, mental illness and other economic and social issues, both locally and overseas. ICRT has previously co-sponsored similar conferences in the Netherlands, where it has active collaborations with human service organizations. This year, the event, which features experts from around the world, was moved to Albany to broaden discussion of what approaches are helping refugees and migrants successfully integrate into new home communities.

“There are lots of good things happening in the U.S. and outside, and we want to learn about them because we know that issues for the refugee population are going to continue to grow,” said Richard Pulice, the ICRT director and a Saint Rose professor of social work. “We want to share lessons, including lessons from people who have been part of the refugee population, on what can make the difference between having limited or no access to services and having programs that are culturally sensitive and caring.”

Speakers include Chhabi Lall Timsina Sharma, once a refugee in Bhutan, who is now a psychiatrist who cares for refugees and immigrants at Health Partners Center for International Health in St. Paul, Minnesota. Sharma, who works to reduce the high suicide rates of resettled refugees, will discuss a cross-cultural approach to the mental health needs of refugees and immigrants. James Bisheko from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Kampala, Uganda, and John Paul Agaba, once the director of a refugee camp in Uganda, will talk about how their country supports displaced persons.

One session will focus on how a program in western New York helps survivors of torture from overseas. Another session will highlight a program in Romania that helps displaced people avoid getting caught up in sex trafficking, an all-too frequent outcome for those who have no homes or resources. A final discussion will bring the experts together to deliberate implementing the ideas.

Pre-registration for EVER Changing World is required. Cost is $175 for both days, $75 for students, and financial aid is available.

A full conference schedule is available here.  To register, please call 518-454-5251 or email



For More Information, Contact:

Benjamin Marvin
Director of Media Relations