Board of Directors
Mary Lynn Barrett
Board MemberMary Lynn Barrett has dual Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Washington. She is the Director of Behavioral Medicine in the Family Practice Residency Program and Family Health Center at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Her current position involves both teaching physicians to manage the mental and behavioral health aspects of primary care and treating patients who experience these challenges to help their overall well-being. Mary Lynn has trained extensively in several mind/body modalities for healing trauma and is very knowledgeable of the effects of trauma and stress on both physical and mental health. As a Master Trainer in the Trauma Resiliency Model and the Community Resiliency Model, she trains all types of individuals from physicians and licensed mental health providers to case managers, parents, lay providers, veterans and clergy. Mary Lynn is fluent in Spanish. She has lived in South America and traveled throughout Latin America. She worked in Honduras with the Shoulder to Shoulder program, providing much needed mental health services and training medical students in the process. Currently, she lives in Asheville with her young son.
Hannah Presser is a May 2016 graduate from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a degree in International Relations and double minors in French and Political Science. Hannah has been interning with Africa Healing Exchange since January 2015 and recently joined as an active Board Member. She traveled to Rwanda in December 2015 with AHE for the business skills and meditation workshops in Kigali and Gisenyi. Hannah aspires to work in the field of international human rights and has been involved in UNCA’s Model United Nations chapter and the French Film Society.
Anna Ferguson is a professional yoga teacher with a decade of experience focusing on promoting, enhancing and restoring balance and wellbeing with the yogic tools of meditation, posture practice, breathing practice, yoga nidra (deep relaxation), yoga philosophy and yogic ways of understanding the world. She researches the latest discoveries in neuroscience and yoga to create therapeutically-oriented yoga practices for holistic healing, increasing resiliency and transcending trauma. She sees people in private sessions, as well as small group classes and larger public classes.
She is currently an E-RYT 500, which means she has completed more than 2,100 hours in yoga instruction.
Dr. Stephen Nsengiyumva, D.Min
Stephen Nsengiyumva was born in Rwanda in the Western Province. He served as a school teacher and proceeded to work at the Friends Peace House in Rwanda before he came to the United States in 2007. Stephen holds a Master’s degree in Religious Studies and another in Biblical Theology. Stephen also holds a Doctor of Ministry from Faith Theological Seminary, Baltimore, MD, and he is currently pursuing a dual MA (Coexistence and Conflict/ Sustainable Intention Development) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Stephen completed different professional trainings in: Mediation, Counseling, and has completed Healing in the Context of our Community (HCC) a professional training that equips people to help young adults who are struggling with various addictions. In 2008, Stephen co-facilitated a program with the Summer Peace Building Institute at Nashua Community College in NH. Stephen has also completed a Conflict Study Program at SIT Graduate School in Vermont. He currently lives in the Boston area with his wife and two children.
Dr. Eugène Rutembesa, PhD
Dr. Eugène Rutembesa, PhD is a graduate from University Saint Denis (Paris 8) in the fields of clinical psychology and psychopathology. Since 2004, he has been conducting research on resilience related to the survivors of the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda. Since 2006, Dr. Eugene Rutembesa has been involved in supervision and training activities of the Association of Rwandan Professionals in Mental Health. He is a lecturer of clinical psychology and psychotherapies within the Department of Clinical Psychology at the National University of Rwanda. He also serves as Coordinator of the University Center of Mental Health (CUNISAM) and is a member of the Rwanda National Ethics Committee (RNEC). Dr. Rutembesa serves as Vice President of the International Forum of the Researchers Interested in Resilience, which includes representatives from France, Romania, Belgium, Russia, Morocco, Japan, Canada and Rwanda.
H’Sien Hayward completed her bachelor’s and first master’s degrees in psychology, with honors, at Stanford University. She completed her PhD in experimental psychology at Harvard University. Her research investigates posttraumatic growth and the positive sequelae of severe adversity. H’Sien has been honored with numerous awards and grants, including the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship. Following the Southeast Asian tsunami, she taught positive psychology interventions to mental health professionals in Bangkok. In addition, H’Sien brought wheelchairs and anti-discrimination training to people with disabilities in Mongolia and Costa Rica. H’Sien was recognized as “One of the Top 10 Most Inspiring American College Women,” and was recently described as the “Ambassador of Happiness” by New Mobility Magazine.
Laurie Tollman is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has practiced in the field of mental health and substance abuse for over twelve years. She has worked as a therapist as well as non-profit manager serving men and women with dual disorders, specializing in addictions, trauma and grief work. Past accomplishments have included serving as Co-Chair of the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Coalition, Secretary of Mountain Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, and member of Warren Wilson Social Work Advisory Board. Laurie’s personal journey includes beginning her own recovery from addiction and trauma at age 20. With the help of a therapist she was able to speak about the nightmares which haunted her on a daily basis and fueled a 10 year addiction to alcohol and drugs. Laurie has recovered from addiction for over 25 years and continues the healing process from trauma, which inspired her to become a therapist and community leader. Her dream is to continue to provide support and encouragement to those who suffer from PTSD and substance abuse, knowing that healing can occur with the appropriate resources to assist in the recovery process.
Jean-Gratien Uwisavye is a member of AHE’s Founding Board of Directors. Jean-Gratien was born in 1965 in Bujumbura, Burundi. He graduated from College in 1992 with a major in French Language and Literature and a minor in African Linguistics. His family moved back to Rwanda in 1986 while he was finishing his college education. In 1992, he started his career as a teacher. Jean-Gratien moved back to Rwanda in July 1994, before the end of the Genocide. One project he pursued was working with a French organization called “Arts et Media d’Afrique”, where he coordinated the “Residence of African Authors” – writers who traveled to Rwanda to write and document the Genocide. The project published ten books in 2001. He moved to the USA in 2002 as an asylum seeker. Jean-Gratien taught French at William Paterson University as an adjunct professor from 2005 through 2007, and since then has been teaching French at a New Jersey public school. He became an American citizen in October 2012.
David Bucura is a Rwandan pastor, a peacemaker, a teacher, and he is clerk of the Africa Section of Friends World Committee for Consultation. Involved with many peace and reconciliation programmes, in 2011 he was named Coordinator for Central Africa for the African Great Lakes Initiative. Mr. Bucura works to provide healing to his fellow Rwandans as well as neighbors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was the youngest of fifteen childreen, of whom only four others survived the Genocide. He studied at University of Congo and Nairobi International School of Theology. He is married, has six children and resides in Rwanda.
M. Ignatiana Mukarusanga
Professor of Pyschology & Music Therapist, National University of Rwanda
Modeste Nzayisenga Muganga Rutangarwamaboko
CEO /Founder, Rwandan Cultural Health Centre and Founder, Rwandan Cultural Psychotherapy
Dearing Davis, LCSW
Dearing began her professional career as a Youth Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. It was there that she cultivated and deepened her passion for international sustainable development, the Latino culture and the Spanish language. During her graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Dearing had the honor of working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. After graduating with a Master of Science in Social Work, she went on to work with children and their families in a bilingual school population. In 2009 she was named River City Youth Foundation Collaborator of the Year in recognition of her partnership with the school and community members. Dearing is credentialed as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and is training in the trauma treatment approach Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Dearing currently works with survivors of sexual violence as the Bilingual Counselor at Our VOICE in Asheville, North Carolina. She loves partnering with individuals through counseling and experiencing the hope and change that comes through the process.