The SURVIVORS Story
Survivors of Torture, International is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for survivors of politically motivated torture and their families who live in San Diego County.
Since 1997, SURVIVORS has helped survivors to recover from their traumas through a holistic program including mental health, psychiatry, social services, and medical case management.
SURVIVORS empowers torture survivors to reclaim the strength and vitality that were stolen from them by brutal dictators and governments. The specialized care SURVIVORS provides these vulnerable individuals helps them to become self-sufficient and healthy members of their families and of our community.
We’re proud to be an accredited member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. We’re also proud to be members of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs and the California Consortium of Torture Treatment Centers.
Meet Our Board of Directors
Jean Greaves, Ph.D., is CEO and co-founder of TalentSmart, Inc. and co-author of several books and assessments on emotional intelligence. Previously, she was the Director of Workforce Planning for Sharp HealthCare and Consultant with Workforce Development Solutions. She joined the board in 2017 and currently serves as board chairperson.
H.H. the Dalai Lama
Survivors of Torture, International has at its core the goal and ideal to relieve human suffering. Their reason for being is to help their clients to overcome the physical and mental pain that has been inflicted on them, to help them heal, grow, and thrive. There can never be a reason or excuse for humans to subject their fellow beings to the abuse of torture. It is our privilege as caring individuals to help to relieve that anguish. I am proud to offer my time and talents to an organization that has the cessation of suffering as its core value.
Carl H. Josephson, S.E. is a Principal Structural Engineer and the Managing Partner of the firm of Josephson-Werdowatz & Associates, Inc., Consulting Structural Engineers. Mr. Josephson is a licensed engineer in 20 states and consults throughout the country. He has served on a number of non-profit boards and is pleased to be able to offer his unique perspective to SURVIVORS.
In 2017, I was elated to hear that the SURVIVORS’ Finance Committee needed an additional member. Philanthropic work and community involvement have always been highly prioritized by my family, whose extended members include World War II victims. It was this connection that drew me to this organization and its honorable efforts assisting those who escaped torture in their homeland.
SURVIVORS’ participants and I are connected by our pasts, yet we work together with a focus on the future. I consider myself truly blessed to work with such an incredible organization and team, and I am thankful to use my experience in finance and accounting to help those in need.
Mr. Tarmo is a Certified Public Accountant with 20 years of experience. He earned his B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s in Accountancy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Loren started his career in public accounting and is proud to have been able to steer his career into the health services arena. He currently serves as CFO for PatientSafe Solutions in San Diego, CA. Loren began serving Survivors of Torture, International in early 2017 as a member of the finance committee and joined the board in 2018. He continues to serve as Chair of the Finance Committee and CFO of the organization.
Ms. Lopez is the executive director and founder of the Southern California Immigration Project, which is dedicated to providing pro bono and low bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations. The organization also educates the public about Female Genital Mutilation, a global health issue that can have devastating physical, psychological and social consequences for women and girls. In the past, she has acted as the Pro Bono Director and Asylum Director of Casa Cornelia Law Center. She earned her B.A. from the University of Southern California, her J.D. from the Western School of Law, and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1989. Elizabeth received the KPBS Community Hero Award in 2017 and the Peacemaker Award from the National Conflict Resolution Center in 2018.
Working with an orphanage in post-genocide Rwanda allowed for continued glimpses into the lives of those in need of community, seeking survival and safety. Field research allowed for me to interview business women in Rwanda, where I listened to stories about the spirit of motivation and how pain brings reconciliation and the power to forgive.
Studying poverty and hunger in Nicaragua led me to the meeting of co-traveler Bill Radatz, who shared the mission of SURVIVORS with me in 2001. I served on the board from 2001-2003 and returned in 2017. Being a part of the SURVIVORS team allows for me to continue to learn and hear stories from those who persevere beyond unimaginable circumstances to join and lead in this San Diego community, a community of which I am proud to be a part.
Paula Herring, EdD is Faculty Chair and Professor at DeVry University, where she has taught and led faculty and students for 18 years. Her professional background is in education and international business and she also serves on the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF) board. She earned her doctorate from Fielding Graduate University in Leadership and Social Justice and was awarded a dissertation research grant from the Women’s Network of Gender Empowerment (WNGE). The Institute for Social Innovation Scholarship awarded her a Dissertation Topic and Research Award for her research about Rwandan women. Additional research, publications, and speaking engagements include the topics of inclusivity, entrepreneurship, human rights, and emerging economies.
For 15 years through June of 2015, it was my privilege to serve as the Director of Refugee Services at Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego. During this time, I interacted regularly with the staff of Survivors of Torture, International, co-founded and led by Kathi Anderson. Survivors of Torture, International was our preferred provider of mental health services for our resettlement clients – refugees, asylees and victims of trafficking, who exhibited symptoms of being torture survivors. Kathi and her staff could not have been more professional or effective with our clients and case managers. We regularly turned to SURVIVORS for training and counsel on how to perform appropriate trauma-informed services.
Michael McKay is currently a lecturer at the Rady School of Management, UCSD, and teaches classes on personal ethics at work and managing diverse teams. He obtained a Doctorate of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from The Catholic University of America and is committed professionally to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion. He joined SURVIVORS’ board in 2016 and serves as the Governance Committee chair.
Having worked as a pro bono immigration attorney representing survivors of torture, I understand the invaluable nature of the services that Survivors of Torture, International provides to survivors of torture in our community. It offers forensic medical and psychological evaluations that noncitizens can use as evidence in their immigration cases to secure lawful status in the United States. However, lawful status is just the beginning in a long journey of healing. Where I practiced outside of San Diego, I saw a gap in services—noncitizens received litigation support but not long-term counseling to help them rebuild their lives after torture. Survivors of Torture, International fills this gap in San Diego by providing much-needed longer-term therapy to help noncitizens and their families continue their journeys of healing. Such therapy can be the key to ensuring that survivors of torture and their families thrive after gaining immigration status. I feel honored to be a part of Survivors of Torture, International and the community of healing it has been forging in San Diego.
Pooja Dadhania is an Assistant Professor of Law at California Western School of Law where she teaches courses in asylum and refugee law and civil procedure. Prior to this position, she was a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center where she supervised students representing survivors of persecution and torture in immigration court. She previously was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where she represented survivors of gender-based violence in immigration and family law matters. She has also served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Pooja received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, LL.M. with distinction from Georgetown University Law Center, and B.A. with high distinction from the University of Virginia. She is admitted to practice law in the state of California.
Ms. de la Garza is an Education Specialist with San Diego Unified School District and adjunct faculty with National University. She began her career teaching adolescents in a psychiatric hospital in New York. After moving to San Diego, Bridget held various teaching positions including coaching beginning teachers and supporting educational programs for foster, homeless, and refugee students. She earned her B.S. from Syracuse University and M.A. from San Diego State University. Bridget is a former officer of the San Diego Refugee Forum.
I have always been drawn to nonprofits and their ability to change the course of one’s life and promote healing. When I first met Kathi Anderson, I was captivated by her passion and professionalism. I was also moved by SOTI’s mission of giving victims of torture the opportunity of a new beginning in this country, treating each of them and their families with respect and dignity.
When I was ready to volunteer and give back to the community, I did not have to look elsewhere. SOTI’s role during the transition of newcomers is so vital to acclimate them to a new environment, by providing services, support, and nurturing relationships that will equip them with the tools to thrive.
Márcia Yafuso Loeffelholz is a senior partner at Hecht Solberg. She is originally from São Paulo, Brazil and has adopted San Diego as home since 2003. Márcia joined the Board of Directors of SOTI in July 2021 and serves in the Governance Committee.
My passion for human rights could be said to have begun in 1968, when I barely missed getting into the middle of the massacre of Tlatelolco in Mexico City. That passion only grew after learning about my late in-laws’ experiences escaping Hitler and arriving as refugees in the US, and then meeting a woman who had been active in the German resistance and who had co-founded the German section of Amnesty International. That in turn inspired me to join Amnesty, for which I eventually served on the board and where I met Kathi Anderson. My friendship with Kathi has continued since then; I would get together with her on my frequent trips to San Diego on my way to visiting my family in Ensenada, and that is how I became acquainted with the wonderful work that SURVIVORS does on behalf of refugees. Last year I asked to join the SURVIVORS board and am honored to have been accepted.
Queta is a retired strategic communications professional. In 2000 she founded Cultural Communications, LLC, a multicultural communications consulting firm specializing in not-for-profit community outreach. Her clients included the City of Chicago, Head Start, and the Illinois Child Trauma Coalition (for which she volunteered after serving as a consultant). The firm received many awards, including a Gold Quill Award of Excellence (highest international award) as well as Silver and Bronze awards, all from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), and two Golden Trumpet Awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago.
Queta has a BA from DePaul University and a MS in Communication from Northwestern University. In 2009 she became the first Latina in Chicago to earn an ABC accreditation (Accredited Business Communicator) from the IABC.
Queta has served on numerous non-profit boards, including Amnesty International USA, Chicago Foundation for Women, Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force (now Equal Hope), Publicity Club of Chicago, Community Media Workshop (now Public Narrative), and Sones de Mexico Ensemble. Born in Mexico City, she has lived in New York and Paris and has settled in Chicago with her multicultural family.
Our Board Emeritus Society
Meet Our Staff Members
Kathi holds an M.A. in Counseling from San Jose State University and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of the Pacific. Her previous employment included Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice, Evaluator at Grossmont Hospital, Adjunct Faculty Member at the College of Idaho’s Graduate Program, Director of Elks Hospital’s Occupational and Rehabilitation Department and Refugee Resettlement Case Worker for the International Rescue Committee.
Kathi is the elected North American representative and Executive Committee member of the Denmark-based International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims; co-founder and Executive Committee member of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs; and the Vice Chair of the State Advisory Council to the Refugee Programs Bureau. As a volunteer, she currently serves on the advisory boards of University of the Pacific’s School of International Studies, San Diego State University’s School of Social Work, Lutheran Office of Public Policy, and the Barbara Chester Award Committee of the Hopi Foundation. Previously, she served on the national board of directors for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service as well as Amnesty International USA.
Dr. Mahvash Alami joined Survivors of Torture, International in May 2011 to oversee the holistic, strength-based, recovery-oriented service program. She leads all ongoing development, expansion, and enhancement of client service programs and provides agency leadership with other members of SURVIVORS’ management team. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Alliant International University and obtained her license as a psychologist in July 2004. She completed her domestic violence certificate in 2004 and has been providing treatment to survivors of torture for the past 20 years. She has experience working in crisis environments, in-patient psychiatric hospitals, and outpatient programs. She also has over 8 years experience overseas working as academic staff at a medical school teaching psychology to medical students and nursing students. In addition, she obtained her certification in Psycho-Social Rehabilitation (PSR) in 2002 and holds a certificate in LGBTQ and geriatric mental health. She has completed TF-CB (Trauma focus cognitive behavioral therapy) training, a conjoint child and parent psychotherapy approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events. She has private practice experience working with survivors of torture. She is bilingual and speaks Farsi (Persian). She has been a member of the San Diego Psychological Association.
Clint has worked in government and public affairs positions in San Diego for more than 20 years. As the government affairs manager for Survivors of Torture, International, he will help develop and maintain relationships with local, state and federal government officials, NGOs, international organizations, other trauma service providers and community partners. Clint has supported survivors of severe trauma for more than a decade, and has also supported refugee health services and paramedics in Tijuana, Mexico. He also has consistently served on the board of directors of a number of local non-profits and community organizations for more than 24 years. Clint has a B.A in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Heather has served as SURVIVORS Finance Manager since November 2019. She received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management through Regis University in Denver and a certificate in Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting. Prior to joining SURVIVORS, she worked in Corporate finance and as the Deputy Director for a nonprofit working with military veterans. She currently serves on the board for a nonprofit in San Diego encouraging the use of fitness in individuals working through a wide spectrum of challenges and trauma. After almost two years in the corporate world, she missed feeling like she was making a difference and started looking for a nonprofit who aligned with her personal values.
Janelle joined Survivors of Torture, International as Medical Case Manager in June 2021. Prior to joining SURVIVORS, Janelle earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health through San Jose State University. During her time at San Jose State, she served as a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success where she mentored younger students and set them up for success in their academic careers. She previously worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant providing care to elderly residents who suffer from terminal and mental illness in skilled nursing facilities. Janelle has always had a passion for helping others and improving their lives by giving back to her community. SURVIVORS embodies all the values that she strongly feels lead her on her path to making a difference. Every day at SURVIVORS she witnesses the results and impacts of a helping hand and how far it goes for those who need it.
Winona Garcia is honored to serve individuals and families of SURVIVORS since June 2019. Though her parents were born and raised in the U.S., Winona grew up in the Philippines after her family moved there in 1997. This move sparked her interest in the lives of immigrants. This interest has always guided her path. In 2015, she earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies from Pepperdine University. Before joining SURVIVORS, Winona graduated from San Diego State University in May 2019 with a Master’s degree in Social Work. While in graduate school, she developed her knowledge of case management and social services at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, where she worked with patients from diverse language and ethnic backgrounds. Winona has also provided therapy to adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses at a short-term residential treatment center.
Hannah is an advocate, social worker and community member, who is passionate about advancing social and economic equity for survivors of torture in San Diego County and beyond. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from UC San Diego in 2017, Hannah started volunteering and interning at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a refugee resettlement agency in San Diego, during a period of peak arrivals. Inspired by this work and the opportunity to advance global human rights locally, Hannah began working at the IRC as a Youth Job Readiness Coordinator, where she accompanied refugee-identifying youth in accessing education, finding employment and rebuilding a sense of community.
Interested in learning more about human development and barriers to systemic change, Hannah pursued a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Chicago, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice, where she focused on Administrative Social Work and received a certificate in Global Social Development. Throughout this program, Hannah held internships at GirlForward, where she helped facilitate social and emotional learning groups for refugee girls, and at the El Paso Child Guidance Center, where she supported trauma-informed/race equity organizational development efforts, the administration of trauma-informed care trainings to El Paso partners and the launching of the Migrant Youth and Families Mental Health Program. Hannah joined SOTI as the Clinical Case Manager in July 2021, where she helps provide holistic, trauma-informed case management services to clients who are healing from torture.
Cristina De La Torre joined SURVIVORS as their Data Quality and Evaluation Manager in 2021. Using her data mindset and skill set, she manages, analyzes, and reports on data to help demonstrate outcomes and continuously improve services. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and International Studies from Northwestern University where she discovered the power of data while working as a research assistant for a child development psychology lab. In college, Cristina also served as an AmeriCorps member to help preschool students from under-resourced communities build language, literacy, and social-emotional skills. Most recently, she worked as a data and evaluation consultant with various community-based nonprofits serving youth and families across the Denver metro area. Born and raised in the border city of El Paso, TX, Cristina has always believed in the importance of protecting refugee and asylum seekers’ rights and is proud to continue championing that cause with SURVIVORS.
“I am honored to join the SURVIVORS team to continue serving San Diego and beyond in fulfilling our mission of social justice, education and advocacy for the newest members of our community who have taken the most arduous and often dangerous paths to arrive in our County. The passionate staff and volunteers who I have worked with as a supporter of SURVIVORS before taking on this role convinced me my work here will be vital and rewarding.”
Scott has a diverse background of business development roles across multiple industries in the San Diego region over more than 30 years. His Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and Economics from UC Davis and his MBA in Finance from San Diego State allowed him to develop and lead customer relationship and donor development strategies that span Aerospace, Software, Market Research, Banking, Utilities and Entertainment (Theatre) industries. He served as President of Diversity Councils and Employee Giving Councils at Sempra (SDG&E) and was awarded the Sempra Diversity Employee of the Year award in 2018. Scott has founded national sports organizations and currently serves as Board President and Development Committee chair at Diversionary Theatre, the third oldest LGBTQ theatre in the country. Scott’s passion for international travel and cultural exploration aligns well with the mission at SURVIVORS to lift up and welcome those members of the international community seeking new opportunity and redemption in our own local neighborhoods.
Survivors of Torture, International is an Equal Opportunity Employer
SURVIVORS prohibits discrimination against employees, applicants for employment, individuals providing services in the workplace pursuant to a contract, unpaid interns or volunteers based on any legally-recognized basis, including, but not limited to, their actual or perceived race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status (including registered domestic partnership status), sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, lactation and related medical conditions), gender (including gender identity and expression), age (40 or over), sexual orientation, Civil Air Patrol status, military and veteran status, immigration status or any other consideration protected by federal, state or local law.