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Asylum Network Member Profiles

Each year, tens of thousands of people from around the world seek humanitarian relief from deportation so that they can re-build their lives in the United States. This vulnerable group includes survivors of torture, domestic abuse, trafficking, and other forms of persecution. Many have suffered unimaginable physical and psychological torture in their countries of origin. They lack the extensive documentation required for an immigration application. Even if they can afford an attorney, they face the daunting task of providing detailed, independently corroborated evidence of harm as required by the government. If they are sent back to their countries of origin, they face further persecution — even death.

Imagine the confusion. Imagine the despair. Imagine the fear.

Now imagine using your unique skills and expertise to help give indigent asylum seekers a chance for a new life, free of fear.

Read the stories of some of the Asylum Network members who do just that. Then, if you'd like to become an Asylum Network Member as well, read more here or email us at asylum@phrusa.org to find out how.

Ameena Ahmed, MD, MPH

Ameena Ahmed, MD, MPH

Physician; Assistant Clinical Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Ahmed has examined hundreds of torture survivors from over 60 countries and provided expert witness testimony on the medical and psychological evaluation of torture survivors in over 50 cases in United States Federal immigration court since 2001, Learn More »

Dr. Joanne Ahola

Joanne Ahola, MD

Asylum Network Member

In 1999, I read an article by a psychiatrist who described having found deeply rewarding volunteer work as a member of the Asylum Network. He spoke of the flexibility there was to do as little or as much as his time allowed, and how he could volunteer right in his office. ... I signed up that evening. Learn More »

Marion Brown, DO

Marion Brown, DO

Asylum Network Member

I have been a member of the Asylum Network since 2001 and have seen more than 18 clients, all but one of whom have received asylum status. It took just one interaction with an asylum seeker, a woman from Senegal who was held captive as a sex slave, to make me want to work with people seeking asylum. Learn More »

Nancy Cabelus, DNP, RN

Nancy Cabelus, DNP, RN

Senior Fellow; Adjunct Professor; Director-at-Large

Nancy’s research topic of interest is human trafficking. She continues to lecture internationally on prevention of sexual violence and trafficking. She joined PHR in 2011 as a forensic consultant, and has also recently joined the Asylum Network. Learn More »

Sondra Crosby, MD

Sondra Crosby, MD

Medical Consultant

Dr. Crosby’s clinical practice focuses on care of asylum seekers, asylees, and refugees, and she has written over 200 affidavits documenting medical and psychological sequelae of torture. Learn More »

Michèle Curtis

Michèle Curtis, MD, MPH, MML

Asylum Network Member and Medical Expert Consultant, Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

Dr. Michèle Curtis is a practicing Ob/Gyn and president and CEO at CeeShell Healthcare Consulting. Learn More »

Barbara Eisold, PhD

Barbara Eisold, PhD

Asylum Network Member

I began doing asylum evaluations as a volunteer approximately eight years ago... The actual work with asylum seekers has turned out to be extremely valuable to me in ways I could never have predicted. Learn More »

Hope Ferdowsian

Hope Ferdowsian, MD, MPH, FACPM

Asylum Network Member and Medical Expert Consultant, Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

Hope Ferdowsian is assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University and adjunct associate professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center Department of Microbiology and Immunology, as well as an asylum evaluator for PHR’s Asylum Network. Learn More »

Lynne Gaby, MD

Lynne Gaby, MD

Asylum Network Member

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. Learn More »

Allen Keller, MD

Allen Keller, MD

Medical Advisor

Co-author of PHR’s ground-breaking report, Broken Laws, Broken Lives, Allen is internationally recognized as an expert in treatment and evaluation of torture. He is the Director of the NYU Center for Health and Human Rights. Learn More »

Coleen Kivlahan, MD, MSPH

Coleen Kivlahan, MD, MSPH

Asylum Network Member and Volunteer Medical Advisor, Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

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. Learn More »

Kenneth S. Kosik, MD

Kenneth S. Kosik, MD

Asylum Network Member

An Asylum Network member for nearly two decades, Dr. Kosik has lectured on issues related to asylum, performed evaluations, and trained others to conduct asylum evaluations. Learn More »

Stuart Lustig, MD, MPH

Stuart Lustig, MD, MPH

Asylum Network Member

I was initially prompted to begin volunteering for the Asylum Network because my father lost several family members in the Holocaust. In the same way that we enjoy those rights [such as freedom of speech] because of the efforts and sacrifices of our predecessors, I believe we have an ethical obligation to advocate for those who are less fortunate than we are. Learn More »

Stephen McElroy, MD, MPH

Stephen McElroy, MD, MPH

Asylum Network Member

An emergency department physician and Clinical Assistant Professor, Dr. McElroy has been a member of PHR's Asylum Network since 2004 and regularly evaluates asylum seekers. Learn More »

Ranit Mishori

Ranit Mishori, MD, MHS

Asylum Network Member and Medical Expert Consultant, Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

Ranit Mishori is a family physician and an asylum evaluator for PHR's Asylum Network. Learn More »

Alejandro Moreno, MD

Alejandro Moreno, MD, MPH, JD, FACP, FCLM

Medical Consultant

Dr. Moreno, a practicing physician and attorney, is an expert in the care of refugees and victims of torture, an area which he has published extensively. Learn More »

 Katalin Roth, JD, MD

Katalin Roth, JD, MD

Asylum Network Member

My commitment to human rights goes way back to college activism (civil rights, anti-Vietnam and anti-poverty). I came to medicine after a brief career as a lawyer and law teacher, and so issues of justice and human rights have concerned me throughout my career. Learn More »

Donna Sutter, MD, MPH

Donna Sutter, MD, MPH

Asylum Network Member

A member of PHR's Asylum Network since January 2002, Dr. Sutter has participated in over 30 asylum evaluations. Learn More »

Homer Venters, MD

Medical Advisor

An attending physician at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture as well as Medical Director for NYC DOHMH at Rikers Island Jail, Dr. Venters also sees detained victims of torture who are seeking asylum, and conducts trainings for US Dept. of Homeland Security Asylum Officers on the effects of torture. Learn More »