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Coleen Kivlahan, MD, MSPH

Position: Asylum Network Member and Volunteer Medical Advisor, Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones
Coleen Kivlahan, MD, MSPH

As a family medicine physician for more than 25 years, Coleen Kivlahan serves the Association of American Medical Colleges as the senior director for health systems innovation.  She is an avid volunteer with PHR in the Asylum Program, both as a trainer and medical evaluator, as well as a volunteer medical advisor and lead trainer for the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones.

Kivlahan has spent many years providing child sexual and physical abuse evaluations and established the SAFE Network (Sexual Assault Forensic Evaluation) in Missouri in 1984 to increase access to professional, scientifically-based evaluations. She also began the Child Fatality Review Project to review all unexplained child deaths. Kivlahan continues to provide sexual assault evaluations for children and adults, and torture evaluations for asylum-seeking clients. 

Her training includes undergraduate studies at St. Louis University, medical school at Medical College of Ohio, and family medicine residency at the University of Missouri. Kivlahan completed her MSPH during a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship. She has worked in public health settings, academic health centers, state and county government, and abroad in countries including Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the DRC.  She continues to practice medicine with an immigrant population, providing care for complex diabetes and hypertension conditions in Northern Virginia. 

She has performed more than 250 asylum examinations since 2002 and has integrated her professional skills and personal beliefs by working in forensic science, primary care, international human rights, advocacy, access to health care, and by serving as a translator for the human stories told at the most vulnerable times in people’s lives. Her most memorable moment was when an asylum applicant from Ethiopia told her, “I was created to survive.” PHR’s mission to promote human rights in ways that help people survive and thrive, motivates her every day.

>> Read PHR's Summer/Fall 2011 Newsletter, featuring Dr. Kivlahan.