MISSION & HISTORY
The Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture’s mission is to assist individuals and families subjected to torture and other human rights abuses to rebuild healthy, self-sufficient lives, and to contribute to global efforts to end torture.
PSOT was co-founded in 1995 by a small group of medical, mental health, and social service providers at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and NYU Grossman School of Medicine to address the complex needs of torture survivors in the New York City area. Since its inception, the Program has provided services to help rebuild the lives of nearly 6,500 men, women, and children from more than 112 countries regardless of their ability to pay. PSOT’s work is guided by the core belief that the individuals cared for are survivors in the true sense of the word, with innate resilience which enabled them to survive their trauma and to make it here to the U.S. The Program’s integrated approach is comprehensive, interdisciplinary, culturally sensitive and client-centered.
We envision a world where victims of torture and human rights abuse are able to receive safe, compassionate, and professional care.
The Program 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 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.