UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008 Page: 46
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sources and to better assist clients.
Rios says more than two-thirds of the
member nations of the United Nations use
torture either openly or tacitly to control
their citizens, with the United Nations
ways for the clients. Danyel has looked
not just at the differences between the
cultures, but at how the cultures impact
each other, in determining the best services
for each person."
"Studies ... estimate that up to 30 percent of all refugees
to the United States are torture survivors."
- LAURA DANYEL RjOS
defining torture as "any act by which severe
pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,
is intentionally inflicted on a person."
"Studies conducted by the U.S.
Department of Justice estimate that up to
30 percent of all refugees to the United
States are torture survivors," she says. Texas
is home to more than 35,000 refugees,
including an estimated 10,000 torture
survivors and more than 550 asylum seekers
living in the North Texas region, according
to the center's statistics.
The Rev. Sharmin DeMoss, associate
executive director of the center, says Rios'
and Dessouky's evaluation is a "big bonus."
"Nonprofits usually cannot afford to
have this type of impact study," she says.
"We deal with clients from 63 different
countries and six continents so, clearly, we
needed someone to handle things extremely
professionally and in culturally appropriate
MAYAN HEALTH CARE
Rios' interest in social science research
began when she spent three weeks in Chan
Kom on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula as an
undergraduate with Alicia Re Cruz, associate
professor of anthropology at UNT, and
Rios visited the small Mayan village to
study health care there. She observed how
Mayans at the local clinic were served by the
village's physician and several medicos -
a position somewhere between a nurse
practitioner and a physician assistant. She
also went on vaccination rounds with the
"The villagers don't always trust doc-
tors - they'd rather go to a local person
for health care," Rios says. "It is not that
the villagers prefer traditional medicine over
clinical medicine - many of them feel that
the health care professionals who are not
46 2008 UNir R.SAKo
Laura Danyel Rios, .
.nplied anthropology, is researching
e needs of survivors of torture. As an
dergraduate, she studied Mayan health
Mayan or from the local area do not under-
stand or appreciate them."
She says understanding how the villagers
approach health care could provide U.S.
doctors with a better understanding of how
to serve rural populations in general.
"In certain parts of the United States,
it's still not uncommon for a small town to
have only one health care provider," she says.
SHARING 90ESEARCH METHOD))S
This summer, Rios and Dessouky will
coordinate the National Science Foundation
Summer Research Methods Program for
UNT's Department of Anthropology. The
program provides 10 weeks of instruction in
social science research methods to under-
graduate students who are members of
groups typically under-represented on college
campuses, including students who are ethnic
minorities or the first in their families to
attend college. Most come to UNT for the
summer from other universities.
"Many of the students have shared
with us that before they attended the
program, their view of research and them-
selves was very different," Rios says. "We do
not tell them how to think - we try to
show them the many ways in which the world
can be understood."
Beginning in fall 2008, Rios plans to
live in Japan for at least a year and work with
the homeless, single mothers, orphans or
another marginalized population.
Then she may earn an advanced degree
in public health.
"Whatever I end up doing for a career,
I want to feel as if my work is benefiting
the greater community and to be excited
about the work I do," she says. "I think I'll
be fulfilled as long as I'm helping others." U
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008, periodical, 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115031/m1/46/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.