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, as well as Faculty/Supervisor at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology (Boston Medical Center). She is a licensed psychologist with more than 20 years of clinical and teaching experience combined. She has done field research around war trauma in Lebanon. Dr. Mattar was Associate Dean of the Kalmanovitz School of Education and Associate Professor in the Graduate Counseling Program at Saint Mary’s College of California. She was also a professor in the PsyD program at JFK University (California). Dr. Mattar is a founding member of the Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and is a Past Chair of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs of APA. She is currently a member of the APA Race and Ethnicity Guidelines Task Force. 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; cultural considerations in disaster mental health; culturally-sensitive education and training, and mindfulness and spirituality. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Psychological Trauma. Dr. Mattar is bilingual in English and Spanish and speaks conversational Arabic and French. She holds a Yoga Teacher certification (YTT500 hours).

Sarah Kimball, MD
Co-Director, Immigrant Health Center, BMC

Sarah Kimball, MD is a board-certified internist and an Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Medicine.  She is currently serving as the co-director of the Immigrant Health Clinic at Boston Medical Center.  In addition to her love of primary care, Dr. Kimball's main interest is in teaching social justice in a medical setting. She was a founding member of the North American Society of Refugee Health Provider, has worked as a lead trainer with Physicians for Human Rights to teach medical affidavit writing in accordance to the Istanbul Protocol, is director of resident education of the Immigrant and Refugee Health Program in the Department of Internal Medicine at BMC. In response to the role American health care professionals played in the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, Dr. Kimball has helped support legislative campaigns and has testified in public hearings to prohibit the torture and abuse of prisoners by health care professionals to ensure such treatments from being committed in the future, and to provide professionals with additional legal basis to resist unlawful and unethical orders, initiated by the Massachusetts Campaign Against Violence.

Elissa Bargas 
Clinical Social Worker

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

Matthew Sablan
Outpatient Clinician

Matt Sablan, MSW is an outpatient clinician at the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights. He provides psychotherapy for adult refugee and asylum seeking clients and writes psychological evaluations in support of asylum claims. He is a graduate of the Boston College School of Social Work with his MSW in Mental Health and the Boston College School of Theology with his MTS in Theological Ethics. His work has focused on trauma and relationships.

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.

Linda Zimmerman
Career Counselor

Linda Zimmerman manages the Career Development Program at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. She provides direct career services including career coaching, resume development, and advising on best practices for a US job search. In addition, Linda facilitates job readiness trainings, coordinates the online core job search program, and develops programs with internal stakeholders and employers to apply job readiness skills and generate opportunities for employment. Previously, Linda was a Career Coach/Trainer for JVS-Boston, a leading workforce development agency, and an Outreach & Graduate Student Recruitment Manager for Boston University School of Medicine/Graduate Medical Sciences. Linda is a Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP), Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) and Teacher of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). She received her MS from Lesley University and BS from Boston University.

Robbie Adams
Project Coordinator

Robbie Adams is the Project Coordinator at the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights.  She manages volunteer inquires and applications, coordinates events and fundraising activities for the Center and provides general support for all of the BCRHHR’s programs.  Robbie earned a BA in Social Thought & Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She has studied issues affecting internally displaced persons in Bosnia & Herzegovina and in Southeast Asia as well as volunteering in refugee camps in Greece.  

Houda Chergui
Senior Research Assistant

Houda Chergui is currently Senior Research Assistant with the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, and Immigrant Health Center. She received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health focused in Monitoring and Evaluation and Global Health where her interests included refugee and humanitarian issues and sexual and reproductive health. During the course of her MPH, she spent a summer in Athens, Greece conducting research on sexual and reproductive health and rights of refugees, and volunteering with a grassroots woman-led nonprofit organization that provided care to refugee mothers and infants. Prior to this, she worked in New York City connecting individuals living with HIV/AIDS or other chronic conditions to health, legal, and social services, many of whom were asylum seekers and refugees. Houda speaks English, French, Spanish and Arabic. 

Joelle Taos Taknint, PhD

Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Joelle Taos Taknint is a postdoctoral fellow in Clinical Psychology at Boston Medical Center. At the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR), 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's clinical and research interests lie at the intersection of culture and mental health. Her research to date has been focused on the experiences of immigrant individuals across the lifespan particularly how experiences of discrimination impact identity development and psychological well being. Clinically she is interested in cultural responsivity in psychotherapy and cultural validity in psychological testing and assessment. 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 at Boston Medical Center which involved a year-long placement with the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. Dr. Taknint is thrilled to be able to stay on at BCRHHR and BMC as a postdoctoral fellow this year!

Dowling Building at Boston Medical Center

850 Harrison Ave, 7th Floor

Boston, MA 02118

(617) 414-4794

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© 2014 by the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights.

Last updated 4/7/19