Our Mission and History
Since its inception in 1995, the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT) has cared for more than 3,000 men, women and children from over 80 countries. PSOT provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care addressing the medical, mental health, and social service needs of torture survivors and their families residing in the New York metropolitan area. PSOT brings together clinical and academic resources from Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the United States, and New York University School of Medicine, a highly respected teaching institution at the center of New York's vibrant academic community.
The PSOT is situated just above the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which has historically been one of America’s (and the world’s) most vibrant immigrant communities. Unfortunately, the diversity of our community is augmented by an influx of individuals fleeing the increasing incidence of torture and other human rights abuses practiced in nations from every region of the world. Immigrants who have escaped harrowing circumstances in their native lands come to the United States with hopes of partaking in the freedom and liberty for which the U.S. is widely known. These survivors often arrive in New York City, a major entry point for immigrants of all backgrounds. Consequently, a significant number of torture survivors and traumatized refugees are discovered among Bellevue’s general patient population, in addition to those who have been specifically referred to our program. The diversity of our clientele is complemented by a professional team with a wide variety of life experiences, cultural backgrounds, and professional expertise. At the PSOT we find that these variations in worldview and training add to the richness of theoretical debate, and facilitate more nuanced and effective treatment for our patients.
The Bellevue/NYU Program is the only program in the nation that has developed and implemented treatment services for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) survivors of torture, addressing the particular challenging intersection of immigration issues, persecution, trauma, and sexual identity. Our experience with this population has enabled us to develop unusual expertise that is crucial to the LGBT community. The Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture is a member of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP) and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).