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PHR Impact 2011 - Asylum

Father and Daughters

Providing Medical Evaluations to Asylum Seekers

More than 400 survivors of violence, torture and trauma will request medical evaluations from PHR this year to gain asylum. Our Asylum Network, a trained group of nearly 500 health professionals, provides medical evaluations to document proof of persecution and abuse—which support legal claims to asylum. We have already helped more than 350 asylum seekers this year.


From Persecution to Freedom: Stories of Success

Each year, PHR health professionals help document the physical and emotional trauma of conflict, abuse, and discrimination. One recent case was that of “Jenny,” a 27-year old woman from Malawi. As a child she was  subjected to a humiliating and painful tribal sexual ritual that lasted weeks. We connected Jenny with one of  our skilled and compassionate volunteers, who provided an evaluation that validated Jenny’s story. She recently received asylum in the US.

“I am starting a new life because of you. I can't believe it is me who received this asylum. Thank you so much.”
         ~ “Jenny”


Hispanic WomanDemanding Improved Conditions at US Immigration Detention Centers

For the past two years PHR has been advocating to ensure the quality and timeliness of health care provided to individuals held in immigration detention centers.

We seek to keep vulnerable people, including the severely ill, children and the elderly, torture survivors, and pregnant and nursing mothers, out of detention altogether.

Through our meetings with federal policy makers, we are changing the system—treatment of serious illness can no longer be denied for these individuals.



Building Our Asylum Network

Joanne Ahola, MD
Dr. Joanne Ahola, Asylum Network Member

Each year, we train doctors and other health professionals to meet the growing need for examinations of asylum seekers.

In 2011, we conducted trainings in Los Angeles and Houston, cities with high demand for immigration services. Attendees were trained in recognizing and documenting the physical and psychological sequelae of torture; providing medical evaluations in detention centers; writing medical-legal affidavits and testifying in court; and conducting advocacy on immigrant and detainee health matters.

Through our trainings and networking, we have welcomed nearly 100 new members to our Asylum Network this year.

>> Read more about PHR's impact in 2011.