Jobs, Training and Facilities, Rehabilitation

Academic Coach Sutherland to visit Rwanda

Woman at a whiteboard in a classroom.
OCE Academic Coach Deanna Southerland is traveling to Rwanda to learn about trauma and its cultural impact.

Deanna Sutherland, an academic coach with CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education (OCE), has been selected to visit Rwanda as part of her doctorate program.

The 10-day March trip gives her the opportunity to work with African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM). 

While in Rwanda, she will attend events to learn about historical trauma and genocide experienced by the Rwandan people. There she will also have opportunities to learn about current peace and reconciliation practices, leadership development, and micro-finance support among the Rwandan population.

She will be exposed to:

  • the systemic impact of trauma endured in Rwandan culture
  • impact on family systems
  • increasing addiction issues and their associated diagnosis from systemic trauma. 

Service opportunities will be incorporated through serving alongside Rwandan nationals and the ALARM staff.

The trip addresses course work on “Empirically Supported Treatments of Trauma,” examining evidence-based trauma treatments with sensitivity to client characteristics, cultural backgrounds, and preferences.

Students learn how science informs human services counseling practice for these clients. The goal is providing ethical, effective, grounded care. Nearly everyone worldwide has experienced some sort of trauma in their lives.

Trauma’s effects are life-changing, often resulting in impactful personal challenges. In many cases, it also destroys their previous sense of wellbeing and can lead to further loss of life.

Sutherland said she hopes to extend her knowledge of how to best address trauma in her work. It’s all part of OCE’s ongoing efforts to rehabilitate CDCR’s incarcerated students.

Learn more about the ALARM organization.

By Oscar Medina, Supervisor of Correctional Education Programs

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