Serving asylum seekers through medical evaluations: LAHRI
The LA Human Rights Initiative is a student-run organization at the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA. We work in partnership with the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to provide pro bono physical and psychological forensic evaluations to asylum seekers and other immigrants.
- Training: Every year, LAHRI hosts a day-long training where we bring specialists from all over California to teach clinicians the basics of conducting physical/psychological forensic medical evaluations. Certification through this training is required for clinicians to do evaluations. Over the course of the past 2 years, we have trained over 500 clinicians and students.
Class: In order to educate DGSOM students on the broader issue of human rights, LAHRI began a human rights class at the School of Medicine. The class consists of 8 talks where we bring in clinicians, attorneys, and prior asylum seekers with expertise in human rights fields including human trafficking, immigrant health, and Native American Rights.
- Evaluations: Forensic medical evaluations are the core of what we do as a clinic. Often, the cases are in remote areas, and require clinicians to commute several hours each way. Donations will help us to cover the cost of transportation. In addition, donations will help us create a more robust telemedicine evaluation system for remote cases.
- Continuity of Care: Asylees often struggle with the resettlement process as they wait for and even after they are granted asylum. Our Continuity of Care Department aims to find pro-bono or affordable medical clinics, housing, and employment services for our clients based on a needs assessment conducted at the end of each evaluation. However, it can be difficult to direct clients to affordable resources, particularly given the limited access our clients have to transportation. Donations will help us more successfully address the needs of our clients.
- The population which we serve is severely underrepresented in the literature. Research is needed both to understand the needs of this population and to act as advocates. One of our current research projects examines the health consequences of traumatic experiences among asylees in the United States through the analysis of 150+ case affidavits.
- Partnerships: Our clinic consists of health professionals of many different fields including MDs, PhDs, nurse practitioners, and social workers. In addition, we collaborate with various residency programs at UCLA to provide residents with the opportunity to shadow/conduct forensic medical evaluation cases.
- Undergraduates: Our undergraduate LAHRI chapter helps to raise awareness amongst college students and involve them in this important work.
In order to maintain this work capacity as a student run clinic with the quality we started off with, we need donations from those who are passionate about our work!
- Forensic Medical Evaluations ($4,000)
- Annual training: Speaker fees (flights, honorarium), food, printing
- Provide transportation for clinicians to partake in remote evaluations
- Expand telemedicine evaluation system for remote evaluations
- Continuity of Care ($5,000)
- Support asylum seekers in finding affordable medical clinics, housing, and employment.
- Provide transportation assistance for asylum seekers
- Research/Education ($1,000)
- Class: Speaker honorariums, food, transportation for site visits
- Host events to increase awareness within healthcare field & among undergraduate students.