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Donna Sutter, MD, MPH

Position: Asylum Network Member
Donna Sutter, MD, MPH

I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. After graduating from Barnard College of Columbia University with a degree in Biology, I worked as a research associate at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I then went on to University of Michigan where I received a dual Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Health Planning and Administration. I returned to Texas to attend medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and I remained in Texas to do my psychiatric residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. I have been a practicing psychiatrist in Houston since completing my residency in 1990.

I first became a member of the Asylum Network in January 2002 after I attended an information and training session conducted by PHR. Since that time I have participated in over 30 asylum evaluations.

Having come from a public health background, my orientation has been to apply my medical skills to those in need in my community. As a psychiatrist I have treated many individuals locally and regionally who have suffered from severe traumas as a result of personal or natural catastrophes.

The Asylum Network allows me to apply my skill set as a psychiatrist to the global community, by my participation in one segment of the legal process for individuals seeking asylum. By interviewing and evaluating individuals who have been persecuted and tortured in their country of origin, I am able to provide expert witness psychiatric testimony for them in federal immigration court and thereby greatly increase their chances of being granted asylum. Although the details of their traumatic experiences are troubling, it has been extremely rewarding both professionally and personally to participate in this medical-legal interdisciplinary endeavor.

I have felt privileged to be able to use my skills as a physician to directly help these torture survivors and to be a part of the process that helps to restore their dignity and hope for the future.