Community Service

Psychiatry faculty serve numerous roles on SMHS, GWU Hospital, and MFA committees and work groups. In addition, faculty members serve significant leadership and consultation roles in national organizations and governmental agencies. These include:

  • Dr. Suzan Song is a national leader for clinical, policy, and research work with youth and families of forced migration, unaccompanied minors, and child trafficking. She is spokesperson for refugee mental health for the American Psychiatric Association (APA), provides subject matter expertise on child trafficking to the U.S. State Department, programmatic expertise for UNESCO and other international child protection programs, and has testified as expert witness before the Dept of Homeland Security congressional committee.
  • Dr. Vanessa Torres-Llenza co-directs a non-profit organization, CrearConSalud, that is providing mental health education and psychological recovery from the Hurricane Maria devastation in Puerto Rico. Dr. Torres serves on the APA Council on International Psychiatry.
  • Dr. Charles Samenow is Program Director for the “New Theater of Medicine” that has created 6 theatrical professional development programs and more than 30 workshops to teach professional development to healthcare providers. Dr. Charles Samenow also has served 5 years as editor of Journal of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity.
  • Dr. Amir Afkhami planned and led implementation of the U.S. Dept. of State funded Iraq Mental Health Initiative to rebuild post-war Iraq's mental health delivery system. Dr. Afkhami serves as an advisor to the U.S. Dept. of Defense on regional stabilization issues and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Dr. Zeina Saliba serves as a Councilor of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry. In voluntary service roles, Dr. Saliba serves as the mental health/addiction specialist for a substance use disorders ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) telehealth program for the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board in Oregon, the mental health expert for a GWU diabetes ECHO program collaborating with La Clinica and Unity Healthcare in the District of Columbia; and as addiction specialist for a new ECHO program in Hungary.
  • Dr. Eindra Khin Khin serves as Past-President of the Washington Psychiatric Society. Dr. Khin Khin has supervised our Human Rights Clinic that provides pro bono psychiatric evaluations of refugees seeking political asylum.
  • Dr. Lisa Catapano is a member of the National Task Force on Women’s Mental Health and sits on the Steering Committee for the Women’s Reproductive Mental Health Consortium in Washington.
  • Dr. Allen Dyer has provided extensive service developing educational programs and rebuilding medical infrastructure in post-war Iraq.  He has developed mental health educational programs and resilience workshops for communities affected by complex emergencies, including the refugee crisis in Greece and British Virgin Islands islands affected by hurricanes in the Caribbean.  
  • Dr. Brandon Kohrt has worked with children and families affected by war and political violence, disasters, and other adversities in Nepal, Haiti, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Brazil, and Mongolia. Since 2006, Dr. Kohrt has developed and implemented mental health and psychosocial support programs in Nepal for former child soldiers and earthquake survivors. Since 2010, Dr. Kohrt has worked with “The Carter Center Mental Health Program in Liberia,” where he designed anti-stigma programs to increase utilization of mental health services. In Liberia, he helped establish the first crisis intervention team training program for the Liberian National Police— the first CIT program in a low-income country. Dr. Kohrt serves on the APA Council of International Psychiatry.
  • Dr. James Griffith is president-elect for the Society for Study of Psychiatry and Culture and serves on the executive board of the American Association of Social Psychiatry. He also serves on the APA Council on International Psychiatry and chairs the APA Chester Pierce Human Rights Award selection committee. Dr. Griffith currently provides leadership for the APA “Mental Health in Central Appalachia Project” and a work group that is developing APA “Best Practices for Managing Stigma.”

Above and beyond their clinical roles in the community, residents collaborate with our faculty as well as local and national organizations in service to promote mental health. Some recent examples include:

  • Residents, in collaboration with Dr. Eindra Khin Khin, have provided free mental health screenings for the volunteers at Hostage US, a non-profit organization that supports families of Americans taken hostage abroad and supports hostages when they return home. 
  • Residents working with Hostage US have provided a lectures series on mindfulness, resilience, and compassion fatigue to organization volunteers. 
  • Residents, in collaboration with Dr. Allen Dyer, have teamed up with a group of clinical professionals to provide a one-day workshop on resilience for staff at CAIR Coalition. CAIR Coalition is a local organization that provides legal services to adults held in the custody of Immigration & Customs Enforcement in Virginia and Maryland and to unaccompanied minors who are held in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Virginia and Maryland. 
  • A resident working with CAIR Coalition has provided an educational lecture on trauma and PTSD.