A new depth to digital divide and inspiration in time of coronavirus

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on how the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) is using technology to support their patients. Their barriers and resilience both humble and inspire me…

COVID-19 and the resulting protocols and procedures for managing it have affected every single CVT healing center in the U.S. and overseas, which means our clients and their families are grappling with abrupt changes. Our healing centers in Minnesota and Georgia are closed to in-person counseling, but thanks to round-the-clock work — and I mean that literally — by our clinical staff, we are meeting many of our clients’ needs through telehealth technology. However, there are hurdles. Some of our clients cannot access a digital connection with their CVT clinicians because they do not have the necessary technology. Some live in tiny apartments crowded with family members and so lack the privacy needed to meet virtually with their counselors. We are working hard to bridge these divides. In Amman, some of our CVT Jordan clients are connecting virtually with our clinicians, while also confronting increasingly distressing food shortages and the realities of isolation. And at our healing centers in Africa, where we would under normal circumstances hold 10-week counseling sessions, these sessions have been adapted so that our refugee clients completed their counseling cycle in an accelerated time frame.

While my colleagues and I have done our best to adapt to changing work environments and new models of care, our clients once again have led by example with their openness and willingness to explore new means of pursuing healing. Of course, they tell our clinicians, of course we can find a new way to meet. As many of us struggle to adapt to staying home, I am humbled by their resilience. Heartbreakingly, many of our clients are accustomed to isolation, to confinement. As is so often true, we are once again learning from our clients’ experience.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Healthcare, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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