The executive director of Refugee Immigration Ministry in Malden, Massachusetts, since 1998, Dr. Ruth Hargrave Bersin has accrued nearly 50 years of experience within the realms of education, religious services and philanthropy. Refugee Immigration Ministry was founded in 1986 as a ministry for individuals of many faiths, fulfilling the purpose of offering spiritual care in detention facilities. Since that time, the ministry has flourished into an organization that provides community-based services to underserved individuals. Such faith groups involved in the ministry are American Baptist, Buddhist, Episcopal, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Society of Friends, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, United Methodist and United Presbyterian.
With a mission to build trust and help others begin the process of rebuilding their lives, Refugee Immigration Ministry helps their clients prepare for employment and adapt to the culture in which they can attain success.
An Episcopal priest, Dr. Bersin has past experience as an educator, psychotherapist and businesswoman with extensive experience in immigration issues throughout the United States. A former pastoral psychotherapist for the New England Pastoral Institute and Greater Lowell Pastoral Counseling Center, she was an associate priest at various churches and ministries throughout Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Connecticut. Likewise, she was an executive director for Tokyo English Life Line and a civilian clergyperson on the Yokosuka Navy Base in Japan.
A fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Dr. Bersin received a trauma certificate from the Trauma Center in 1997, as well as specialized training for police chaplaincy in 1996 following work performed with the National Organization of Victim Assistance following the Oklahoma City bombing. Writing extensively throughout her career, she has provided papers at conferences and articles to such professional journals as Theological Literacy for the 21st Century and the Antioch Agenda.
Dr. Bersin is on the board of directors of the Association of Refugee Service Professionals and is chair of the National Committee on Certification Standards since 2010. Additionally, she maintained membership with the New England Pastoral Institute, Washington National Cathedral as chaplain and Episcopal Diocese of Washington as chair of the task force on violence against women.
In light of her success, Dr. Bersin received the Humanitarian Award from the Boston University School of Theology in 2007. She has also been highlighted in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who of American Women.