Libertas Client: "I was born in the year 1968 of the month of August 30th in Borno State, Nigeria. I came from a very humble family of 25 children, of which 23 are living at the moment. Though my father did not have a formal education, he made sure all his children received a good quality education.
I graduated with a BA degree with honors from the University of Maiduguri and worked as teacher and a social insurance officer before moving to the U.S. where I found new life and a new beginning. America is the Greatest. I love my Country and can do anything bestowed on me by my Nation AMERICA.
I worked in various capacities in the city of New York before moving to Ithaca after I got a job with New York State. Now I work as mental health councilor helping those struggling with mental health issues, a job I love and like so much.
All this wouldn't have been possible without LIBERTAS. My gratitude is endless to all the entire staff of LIBERTAS and Elmhurst Hospital. Special thanks to Walter F., who is the current director, Lia, the former director, Elizabeth, the director before Walter, and the group of doctors, especially Dr Lou and Denali. Also Tamara the social worker and a bunch of all other subordinate staff who made it easy for me to navigate through my trauma."
Dinali Fernando, MD, MPH, FACEP is an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at
Elmhurst Hospital. the Executive Director of the Libertas Center for Human Rights at Elmhurst
Hospital, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Global Health
Faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She graduated from the George Washington
School of Medicine and Public Health and completed her Residency in Emergency Medicine at the Mt.
Sinai Medical Center in NY. She is a graduate of the Mt. Sinai Global Health Program and received Mt.
Sinai’s Dr. Balakrishnan Humanitarian Award. She stayed on as faculty working clinically at Elmhurst
Hospital where she has successfully translated her passion to champion the underserved into tangible
accomplishments in the field.
Dr. Fernando has developed the Libertas Center into a multidisciplinary treatment center providing
trauma-focused, longitudinal medical, mental health, social and legal services to hundreds torture
survivors, and trained over 1000 providers across disciplines on best practices in caring for survivors.
She has been funded by New York State to conduct research on health outcomes for survivors, and
presented at the United Nations. Libertas has been recognized by the NY City Council and the Greater
New York Hospital Association amongst others, and profiled by NPR. Dr. Fernando serves on the
National Capacity Building Advisory Group for Torture Treatment Programs, has been recognized by
the Elmhurst Hospital Medical Executive Committee for Outstanding Leadership, Service and
Dedication, and received the Gold Foundation’s 2018 National Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in