238093 Advancing health and human rights for displaced persons: The role of forensic medical evaluation

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM

Christy Carnegie Fujio, JD, MA , Physicians For Human Rights, Cambridge, MA
Many migrants are already suffering from chronic health conditions before entering the U.S. because they lived in war zones and other crisis areas, without reliable access to health care. Additionally, many have suffered physical and psychological trauma, due to persecution in their countries of origin or on the journey to the U.S. Compounding these issues is the mandatory detention period that many migrants are subject to upon presenting their claims at the U.S. border. They may spend significant periods in detention, receiving sub-standard medical care and/or having difficulty accessing necessary physical and mental health services. Those unable to legalize their immigration status often experience rapid, substantial, and sometimes irreversible deterioration of health.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) operates a program that recruits, deploys, and supports health professional volunteers who provide forensic medical evaluations to detainees and other immigrants who have suffered human rights abuses. These health professionals provide the expert scientific documentation and testimony needed to link the sequelae of abuses suffered by immigrants with their narrative accounts. As a result, immigrant survivors of human rights abuses are far more likely to receive a grant of asylum or other immigration status necessary to help them re-build their lives and begin healing in the U.S.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the reasons that many migrants arrive in the U.S. in poor physical and psychological health 2. Identify obstacles that asylees, refugees, and other immigrants face in accessing health services in the U.S. 3. Describe a program where health professional volunteers have the opportunity to make meaningful impacts on the lives of displaced persons

Keywords: Migrant Health, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an immigration attorney directing a program that mobilizes health professionals to assist immigrant survivors of human rights abuses
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.