Refugee Mental Health Mini-Conference

Des Moines, IA US
September 14, 2015




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  • DMU students, faculty, and staff – $0. Use coupon code REFUGEE2015
  • General registration – $25

There are a limited number of discounted registrations available. If you’d like to request a discount on the cost of registration, please email Brianne Sanchez at

Registration is requested by Wednesday, September 9th. 

Cancellation Policy

  • All cancellations must be received in writing at
  • A nonrefundable administrative fee of $10 will be charged for all cancellations.
  • No refunds will be given three (3) business days prior to the activity start date.
  • Cancelled registrations can be transferred to another individual for the same activity. 
  • Individuals who fail to attend the activity (no-shows) will not receive any refund. Forfeited fees may not be applied to any other activity. 



The mission of this conference is to educate and empower those working with refugee populations in our community to identify and address mental health needs in a culturally competent, compassionate manner. The purpose of the event is to present information on trauma-informed care, with special attention to the refugee experience, systems and to deliver strategies to engage, communicate effectively and treat. 

Target Audience

The audience includes mental health professionals, social workers, clinicians, nurses, and students who work with refugees through state agencies, medical clinics and nonprofit organizations.

Practice Gap

It is recognized that most refugees experience great trauma and stress during the stages of pre-flight, flight and resettlement. However, it is challenging for service providers that work with refugees to understand their background and experiences. 

A trauma-informed approach to helping refugees in a variety of settings can benefit refugees’ emotional well-being and increase access to help and services. Many service providers are not able to address mental health issues in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. 

The conference will provide basic information on trauma in refugee populations, vulnerable groups, and how to discuss and identify mental health concerns. It will also include best practices for providing trauma-informed mental health services, including screening, diagnosing, and treating. As a result of the conference, attendees will have a better understanding of refugee experiences that lead to mental health illness and how to address them in a culturally and linguistically relevant manner.


  1. Understand and identify the basic elements of trauma and its psychological effects.
  2. Understand and identify elements and experiences related to the triple trauma paradigm. 
  3. Demonstrate awareness of the ways in which individuals from vulnerable groups in resettlement may have experienced unique traumatic events.
  4. Identify best practices that promote effective interventions with traumatized refugees and asylees.
  5. Learn ways to increase staff self-awareness to reduce stress and promote wellness. 


11:30 pmRegistration, Networking, and Lunch
12 pmIntroductions and Video
12:30 pmUnderstanding Trauma – A Human Response to Extreme Threat 
1 pmOverview of the Refugee Experience
1:15 pmSystems Approach to Intervention
1:45 pmSpecial Attention to Increased Vulnerability – LGBT, Women, Children, Elderly  
2:15 pmBreak and Networking
2:30 pmRefugee and Mental Health
3:30 pmApproaches to Engagement and Intervention
4:15 pmEngaging Clients in Wellness
4:30 pmAdjourn


Marianne Joyce, LCSW
Social Services Manager, Kovler Center

Marianne is a licensed clinical social worker and serves as the social services manager, primarily responsible for conducting clinical evaluations, supervising and training graduate student interns, providing psychotherapy for clients, providing consultation for volunteer therapists, writing psychological affidavits and testifying in court to support asylum claims of survivors. Additionally, she provides education about torture treatment in various university and community settings in Chicago. She has been closely involved with survivors bringing lawsuits against perpetrators residing in the U.S. International experience includes Peace Corps/Guatemala as a volunteer and trainer, providing consultation and training in Haiti, Guatemala, Turkey, and Sri Lanka for physicians and psychologists working with war trauma, and extensive travel in South and Southeast Asia. She taught a course on social work and human rights at the University of Chicago for three years. She holds an M.A. from the School of Social Services Administration at the University of Chicago. Ms. Joyce is fluent in Spanish and licensed to provide mental health services in the state of Illinois.

Mary Lynn Everson, MS, LCPC
Senior Director, Kovler Center

As senior director, Mary Lynn's vision is aligned with Marjorie Kovler Center's three-part mission. Her clinical focus is on improving access to services and outcomes for torture survivors and their families. Her focus in training is to increase education locally and globally regarding torture treatment. Her advocacy efforts focus on support for torture treatment centers, changes in legislation affecting torture survivors, and ending torture worldwide. Mary Lynn is responsible overall for the growth and continued development of Marjorie Kovler Center as well as for contributing to the growth of international programming. Mary Lynn has a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from George Williams College and over 30 years experience in community mental health, including 20 years developing and managing trauma treatment programs at Heartland Alliance.



Continuing Education Credit

  • MD:  This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) through the joint providership of Des Moines University (DMU) and the Bureau of Refugee Services. DMU is accredited by IMS to provide continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • DO: Des Moines University is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and approves this live activity for a 3.5 AOA Category 2-A credit(s).
  • Nursing: Des Moines University continuing education (provider #112) is approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing as an accredited provider and approves this live activity for 4.5 continuing education contact hour(s). No partial credit awarded.
  • Social Worker: The National Association of Social Workers, Iowa Chapter has approved this conference for 4.25 CEUs.  
  • Other: This live activity is designated for a maximum of 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Disclosure: Everyone in a position to control the content of this educational activity will disclose to the CME provider and to attendees all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. They will also disclose if any pharmaceuticals or medical procedures and devices discussed are investigational or unapproved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Determination of educational content for this program and the selection of speakers are responsibilities of the activity director. Firms providing financial support did not have input in these areas. The information provided at this CME activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 3.50 AOA Category 2­A
  • 3.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 4.50 IBON
  • 4.25 NASW
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
09/14/2015 - 11:30am CDT
Event ends: 
09/14/2015 - 4:30pm CDT
Des Moines University
Olsen Center
3200 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States

Available Credit

  • 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 3.50 AOA Category 2­A
  • 3.75 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 4.50 IBON
  • 4.25 NASW


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