Physicians for Human Rights
Special Projects Fund
October 2019- September 2020
The United States provides refuge to asylum seekers who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of nationality.
Asylum seekers must go through a complex and often hostile process of prescreening, interviews, multiple security checks, and a medical exam. Because asylum seekers often flee their countries with little if any money, frequently do not know English, and have only their own accounts to substantiate their claims of human rights abuses, they often need expert assistance to navigate this process. Medical forensic evaluations by health care providers can frequently make the determinative difference in asylum case outcomes, protecting asylum seekers from deportation back to danger or even death. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has developed a new model for providing asylum seekers with free forensic evaluations, one that makes medical schools the hubs for training and evaluations.
In 2019, NYSHealth awarded PHR a grant to implement its model in New York State and help clinicians be among the leaders nationwide in advocating for humane immigration policies and practices based on medical investigations.