Joyceen Boyle, RN, Ph.D., is a Country Specialist for Amnesty International, USA (AIUSA). She started this work in 1983, specifically focusing on Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Dr. Boyle follows the human rights situation in those countries quite closely through the Central America media and the information supplied by nongovernmental organizations, as well as the U.S. media. She has worked with AIUSA on issues of Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans seeking asylum in the U.S., repression of water and land rights activists in those countries, gender-based and LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgendered) violence, reproductive rights, extra-judicial killings and disappearances, gang and cartel violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. She has written letters of support for asylum for Central Americans since 1984.
Dr. Boyle earned a Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Utah in 1982. She focused on public health issues related to community-based maternal and child health in “squatter” or marginal settlements in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, completing nearly 3 years of field work during 1978-1981, a time of civil war and considerable violence. Over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed or forcibly disappeared from 1960-1996. She saw the effects of the violence on the health of women and children and the experiences they and their families had with death squads, security forces, government officials and the various rebel or guerilla groups, and witnessed the effects of torture, disappearances, extra-judicial killings, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and severe domestic violence and abuse.
After returning from Guatemala to the U.S., Dr. Boyle conducted research with undocumented Salvadorans and Guatemalans who had fled the political violence in their countries. Since Tucson is only 45 miles from the US/Mexico border, she has monitored the influx of women and children fleeing violence in Central America and is in frequent contact with various humanitarian groups who monitor migrant activities along the border as well as those groups who visit detention facilities here in Arizona. Dr. Boyle has published extensively in public health and the health care, and has served as a professor at the University of Utah, professor, departmental chair and vice dean at the Medical College of Georgia and as a professor and associate dean at the University of Arizona.