Lynne Gaby, MD
I am a psychiatrist working in a private practice in Washington, DC. I finished my psychiatry residency at George Washington University in 2000 and became a member of the Asylum Network soon after. Up to July 2009, I have conducted 24 forensic evaluations for torture survivors and asylum seekers for Physicians for Human Rights.
In 1999 I began working part-time at a clinic that provides mental health services to immigrants and refugees. Through this work I learned more about the asylum process. It became clear to me and others who were working with the survivors there that we couldn't remain in a detached clinical role — we needed to be willing to involve ourselves in helping our patients remain safely in the US as part of their healing, which often meant providing evaluations for their asylum cases. I began to feel an increasing desire to use my psychiatric training toward social justice and human rights. My experience with torture survivors I was treating led me to volunteer with PHR, and to use the clinical expertise I have developed over the years to help even more survivors gain asylum.
I have met some remarkable individuals as a volunteer for PHR - people who have lived through unimaginable horrors, yet retain a dignity and resilience that is deeply inspiring. I feel immensely gratified to know that the evaluations I have provided can make a difference in terms of a judge's decision to grant asylum. I believe it truly can be a way of participating in saving someone's life; I would strongly encourage others to volunteer and to share this experience.