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Meet Our Team

We believe that our greatest success materializes when people share ideas and work together to achieve common goals. 

Interdepartmental collaboration and coordination is critical to our work as we aim to provide the highest quality of holistic and coordinated care.  

Lin Piwowarczyk, MD, MPH
Director and Co-Founder

Dr. Lin Piwowarczyk, Co-Founder of the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) is a psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center, board certified in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. She first began working with refugees in 1993, as a Fellow in International Psychiatry at the Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic.  Dr. Piwowarczyk also completed an internship at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  She specializes in the mental health evaluation and treatment of refugees and torture survivors, and is currently the principal investigator for a grant funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, addressing, in part, the holistic treatment of survivors of torture.  Since 2002, Dr. Piwowarczyk has served on the Executive Committee of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs and was elected NCTTP President in 2011.  In 2009, she was awarded the Sarah Haley Memorial Award for Clinical Excellence from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.  She is also a recipient of the Local Legends Award from the National Library of Medicine that honors female physicians and with BCRHHR colleagues, the Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Caregiver Award Honorable Mention. A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, she has presented on the topic of torture, locally, nationally, and internationally and has published several articles in various medical journals.

Sandra Mattar, PsyD
Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Mattar is currently an Assistant Professor and Clinical Psychologist at the Boston University School of Medicine (Psychiatry)/ Boston Medical Center, Training Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Health Center, and a Psychologist at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. She is also a Faculty/Supervisor at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology. Dr. Mattar is a licensed psychologist with more than 25 years of clinical and teaching experience combined. Dr. Mattar is a founding member of the Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and Past Chair of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs of APA. She also was a contributor of the APA Race and Ethnicity Guidelines. Dr. Mattar’s research interests are on the intersection of psychological trauma and culture; immigrants and refugee mental health; mental health disparities; multicultural and international psychology; culturally responsive education and training, and mindfulness and spirituality. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Psychological Trauma. Dr. Mattar also holds a Yoga Teacher certification.

Sarah Kimball, MD
Director of Immigrant Health Center, BMC

Sarah Kimball, MD is a board-certified internist and is an Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine. She completed her medical school training at Harvard University Medical School and did residency training in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Residency Program in Primary Care and Population Medicine. She joined the faculty at Boston University School of Medicine in 2014. Dr. Kimball has an expertise in immigration-informed medical care, where she has helped to research and build health systems that are responsive to the needs of im/migrant patients. She is currently the Director of the Immigrant & Refugee Health Center (IRHC) at Boston Medical Center, a comprehensive medical home that addresses the barriers that immigrants face to being holistically healthy. She has served previously as the Medical Director of the Boston Accountable Care Organization (BACO) Complex Care Management (CCM) program at Boston Medical Center. In addition to a love of primary care, Dr. Kimball's main interest is in teaching social justice and advocacy skills. She is an associate editor at the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, with an expertise in Health Services Research. She was a founding member of the Society of Refugee Health Providers, and serves at the co-Chair of the Research, Evaluation and Ethics Committee.

Dana Rous, LICSW
Associate Director of Client Services

Dana Rous has over fourteen years experience in a variety of social service settings.  She joined the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights in 2003.  Dana currently serves as the Intake Coordinator for the Center and provides Case Management services.  In her current role, Dana is also responsible for the supervision of Social Work Interns and she is coordinating the development of a Social Work Internship program.  For the first five years at BCRHHR, Dana worked as a Social Worker/Medical Manager for HIV-Positive Refugees and Asylees and with HIV-Positive, pregnant women.  Prior to coming to Boston Medical Center, Dana spent three years as a Social Worker at a residential program through McLean Hospital.  She received her Master of Social Work degree at Simmons College in 2000.  During her time at Simmons, Dana completed an internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital ID Clinic and in the Emergency Department.  Dana has extensive experience and expertise with a wide range of issues faced by Refugees and Asylum Seekers including domestic abuse and homelessness.

Joelle Taos Taknint, PhD, M.Sc
Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Joelle Taos Taknint is a Clinical Psychologist with Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center (BMC). At the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, she provides diagnostic assessments, develops psychological affidavits for asylum seekers, and provides psychotherapy for immigrant and refugee patients, many of whom are survivors of torture. Dr. Taknint also provides psychological testing for patients within BMC's Immigrant and Refugee Health Center and supervises psychology trainees. The majority of Dr. Taknint's research has investigated the impacts of discrimination on identity development and psychological well-being for immigrant individuals at various life stages. She also conducts program evaluation research, and has published and presented on topics related to international student needs, acculturation experiences within immigrant families, and social cohesion and community belonging in refugee receiving communities. Clinically she is interested in cultural responsivity in psychotherapy, therapeutic assessment, and cultural validity in psychological testing. Dr. Taknint completed her BA in Psychology at Macalester College, in St. Paul, MN, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Lifespan Development Specialty) at the University of Victoria in BC, Canada. Dr. Taknint completed her pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology and her postdoctoral fellowship at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Taknint credits her own experiences growing up in a multi-ethnic family with an immigrant parent for piquing her initial interests in immigrant identity and health.

Elisa Portz
Career Counselor

Elisa is part of the Career Development Program (CDP) as a Career Counselor at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR). In this role, she advises clients on achieving their employment and education needs and goals. Elisa helps clients with resume building, navigating their job search, and interview practice. She also advises clients on job-training, online learning, and ESOL resources that are key components of advancing their knowledge and education as it relates to their employment goals. Previously, Elisa served as an AmeriCorps member in their New American Integration Program. She was an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher at a non-profit organization in Boston called Mujeres Unidas Avanzando (MUA). She is TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certified and received her BA in Human Services with a minor in Spanish from Northeastern University.  

Elissa Bargas
Clinical Social Work

Elissa Bargas has served as a licensed clinical social worker for over 10 years. She obtained her Masters of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice in 2008. She has focused her practice on supporting people impacted by trauma. Prior to joining the team at Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR), in April of 2019, she supported child and families impacted by complex trauma and significant mental health at the Italian Home for Children for seven years. Elissa has also worked with women impacted by domestic violence while at a domestic violence shelter, survivors of rape, and relocated survivors of Hurricane Katrina. In her role at BCRHHR as a Clinical Social Work Supervisors, she will support clients with direct individual therapy, support the in the clinical social work internship program, and provide clinical supervision

Clinical Social Work
Rudra Darai

Dr. Rudra Darai is a clinical social worker at Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR). He has a Master of Clinical Social Work from Simmons University and a Doctor of Social Work from the University of Southern California. In his doctoral program, Dr, Darai is trained in program design, implementation, and evaluation based on design thinking and human-centered research. In 2005, Dr, Darai attended the Conflict Transformation Program offered by Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. When indicated, he integrates a restorative justice approach into his clinical practice. Before joining the BCRHHR, Dr. Darai worked for Riverside Community Care, gaining expertise as an In-Home Therapy Clinician using family systems treatment approaches. In that role, he helped children and families with serious emotional disturbances and traumatic experiences and gained insight and tools to improve healthy family dynamics. Currently, he provides therapy to refugees and immigrants with varying trauma experiences utilizing trauma-informed treatment models, resiliency-based models, and a radical hospitality approach to encourage and foster hope, resiliency, and growth through life’s most challenging moments. His current interests include immigrant and refugee mental health research and program design. Besides English, Dr. Darai speaks Darai, Nepali, and Hindi languages. From Nepal, Dr, Darai also held the position of Founder Principal of Damauli College, located in his hometown, Damauli. He taught Creative Thinking and English Literature at Tri-Chandra Multiple Campus in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Salma Almin
Senior Research Assistant
Hailyn Yoon
Administrative Coordinator

Hailyn Yoon provides administrative support for Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) projects and is responsible for overseeing the operational workflow of the office. She also fulfills the administrative role for the Immigrant and Refugee Health Center (IRHC). In 2020, she completed her student co-op at the IRHC as a project development and front-desk intake coordinator, assisting BCRHHR clients in getting connected to their providers. Due to her interest and passion in global health, she decided to continue exploring various aspects of healthcare within the context of the immigrant and refugee population in Boston. She received her BS in Health Sciences and Psychology with a minor in Global health at Northeastern University.

Psychiatry Residents

Maanasa Bandla
Psychiatry Resident
Bijan Ghaffari
Psychiatry Resident
Ashley Nieves-Archibald
Psychiatry Resident


Resham Gellatly, Ph.D.
Psychology Postdoctoral Fellows
Rehan Sheikh
 Predoctoral Intern, Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology (CMTP)
Casey Waskiewicz
Program Assistant

Casey is the Special Projects Assistant at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. Her responsibilities include coordinating donations to the Center, running the Refugee Patient Navigator (RPN) volunteer program, and assisting with our grant reports and applications. She also provides support for various other projects around the office as needed. Casey is passionate about helping others, and enjoys learning about the different cultures of our clients at the BCRHHR. She is a graduate of Northeastern University, where she received her BA in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in Russian.

Refugee Patient Navigators

Julia Perugini
Refugee Patient Navigator 
Emily Witherell
Refugee Patient Navigator 
Curran Varma
Refugee Patient Navigator 
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