"The Center for Victims of Torture has made a profound impact on
thousands of lives globally by providing care to individuals and
communities that have senselessly been affected by torture and war
trauma," said Brother Dr. René Stockman, Chairman of the Dr.
Guislain Museum. "It's a privilege to provide this award to an
organization that is committed to not only provide resources to
these individuals, but also reduce stigma by normalizing mental
illness within communities and families."
According to the Center for Victims of Torture, there are an
estimated 1.3 million refugee torture survivors in the United
States and many millions more around the world. Torture and war
trauma have tremendous psychological and physiological impact on
individuals, often resulting in the development of post-traumatic
stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder.
The Center for Victims of Torture provides services and support to
these survivors with the goal of reducing psychological symptoms,
such as flashbacks, nightmares, depression and anxiety, and
improving function by helping survivors meet basic needs,
re-establish social connections and get involved with their
"This award honors every member of the Center for Victims of
Torture family in every one of our locations around the world,
including not only our dedicated staff, but also our selfless
volunteers, board members, supporters, advisory council members and
tireless advocates who stand with us to eliminate torture," said
Curt Goering, Center for Victims of Torture executive director.
"Our clients - and all survivors of torture - are at the heart of
our work and the forefront of our minds every single day, and we
will never stop fighting on their behalf as they navigate their own
healing journeys. On their behalf, we are deeply honored to accept
the Dr. Guislain Award in recognition of our work."
The Center for Victims of Torture was the first rehabilitation
center for torture and war trauma survivors in the U.S. and remains
one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world. The
organization started as a local program in St. Paul, Minnesota,
thanks to the leadership of the state's governor, during a period
when tens of thousands of refugees were arriving from Southeast
Asia. In 1999, the programs expanded internationally to reach
survivors living in very difficult conditions in other countries,
where they do not have access to mental health counseling and other
resources as they do in the U.S.
Over the past five years, the number of individuals to whom the
Center for Victims of Torture extends rehabilitative care
(including domestically and internationally) has grown from just
over 2,000 in 2013 to more than 4,400 in 2017. In its more than 30
years of operation, the Center for Victims of Torture has rebuilt
the lives and restored the hope of nearly 36,000 survivors and
touched the lives of many hundreds of thousands more through policy
advocacy that generates federal funding for survivor rehabilitation
in the U.S. and abroad.
"We are honored to recognize the outstanding work the Center for
Victims of Torture is doing to support and provide resources for
victims of torture and war trauma," said Husseini K. Manji, M.D.,
Global Therapeutic Area Head, Neuroscience, Janssen Research &
Development, LLC. "Each year, we seek to honor organizations or
individuals for their tireless efforts to reduce mental health
stigma in communities around the world. The Center for Victims of
Torture's extensive work to improve the lives of these individuals
is incredibly commendable, vitally important and very