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Minnesota Training Projects

Last updated: March 22, 2024

CVT Past Projects

Our past training initiatives in Minnesota focused on increasing knowledge about the effects of torture and strengthening existing services for the care of torture survivors. We trained mainstream health and human services providers, teachers and refugees. Our goal was to build networks among professionals and refugee communities to improve communication, access to care and understanding of torture and war trauma survivors.

New Neighbors/Hidden Scars

In 2005 CVT launched an ambitious project to bring healing to recently resettled refugees and immigrants living in the Minneapolis suburbs of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn CenterOver 15,000 African immigrants had moved into the community and estimates at that time revealed that 8,500 of them were survivors of torture and conflict-related trauma.

CVT developed the New Neighbors/Hidden Scars project to bring together a network of schools, clinics, churches and social service organizations to help these new residents heal from their physical and emotional wounds. This network planned ways to help the new community members receive their basic needs and rebuild their lives.

With the help of the network, the New Neighbors/Hidden Scars project:

  • Educated the community on the symptoms and effects of torture.
  • Trained medical and social service professionals to work with survivors of trauma.
  • Reassured African immigrants they aren’t alone in their pain and that help is available.
  • Developed referral systems among the local clinics and organizations.
  • Created care systems that could respond to torture and trauma survivors.
  • Provided support groups for students in middle and high school.
  • Initiated a church-based support group to offer emotional support and spiritual sustenance.
  • Launched a food pantry to provide traditional African foods at no cost.

CVT completed the three-year project in November 2008.

Project Study
Communicating Trauma with Providers (PDF) was a CVT study conducted in 2006 that found many refugees fleeing political conflict and violence are affected by their experiences but have not spoken to their doctors about them.

Minnesota Mainstream

Our Minnesota Mainstream project trained doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and other professionals about the devastating effects of torture and recommended specific ways to support torture survivors. The project focused on professionals in various Minnesota communities where refugees and immigrants were located. By understanding the torture experience, these professionals learned to provide their services in a way to help torture survivors. The Minnesota Mainstream Project provided training to nearly 17,000 professionals between 1997 and 2003. CVT built on this ambitious project in developing our other community-based training projects—New Neighbors/Hidden Scars and Healing in Partnership.