Health Professionals: Join the Asylum Network
"I have performed nearly a dozen of these evaluations and I can confirm to you that hands down it continues to be the most rewarding thing I do as a professional. Nothing could make us feel prouder than knowing we have used our unique skills to help these individuals make it to safety." -A doctor in the asylum network
What is the Asylum Network?
The Asylum Network at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) consists of over 400 health professionals throughout the United States who offer pro bono forensic evaluations to document evidence of torture and other human rights abuses for immigrants fleeing persecution in their home countries.
Each year, tens of thousands of people from around the world seek safety through the complex and restrictive United States immigration process so that they can re-build their lives in the US. This vulnerable group includes survivors of torture, domestic abuse, trafficking, and other forms of persecution. Asylum seekers often have nothing more than their own words to substantiate their suffering, but some of the most compelling evidence they can offer — physical and psychological signs of trauma — can be documented by a health professional and can make the difference between safety in the U.S. and forcible return to countries of persecution.
Asylum Network members have specialized training and expertise in recognizing and documenting evidence of human rights abuses. The medical-legal affidavits that they submit to courts on behalf of survivors are frequently the determining factor when judges grant asylum or other relief from deportation.
You Can Join the Asylum Network!
PHR is currently seeking volunteer physicians, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers to evaluate the growing number of requests that the Asylum Network receives. PHR offers interested health professionals with a written evaluation guide that includes an overview of asylum law and procedure, discusses how to conduct an evaluation, and reviews components of effective medical-legal affidavits and testimony. Sample affidavits are also available for review.
We provide information, training, and support to get you started as a network member. PHR offers a written guide describing asylum law and procedure, health professionals’ roles in asylum cases, and components of effective testimony. We also have sample evaluations for you to review, and we’ll match you with a network mentor to guide you as you take on your first few cases. We require all new members to attend a formal training, unless you have relevant forensic experience. Generally a minimum of two trainings per year are held.