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Get Involved

For Medical Professionals

We are actively seeking medical professionals who are interested in joining SUNY Downstate's Asylum Clinic team of evaluators.  Our clinic provides training in conducting evaluations of asylum seekers and documenting evidence of torture in medical affidavits. It is a flexible time commitment and may vary from one or two evaluations per year to multiple evaluations per month, depending on availability and preference.  Evaluations can be conducted at a time that works for the evaluators and may take anywhere from two to four hours. The clinic will provide assistance from students, who will attend the evaluation write the first draft of the affidavit. The clinic will also work with the attorney and client to set up a time that works around the evaluator's schedule and arrange for an interpreter if necessary.

Email us at phr.downstate@gmail.com with any questions

The Process for Clinicians

  1. Attend an Asylum Clinic Training session, which last 6-8 hours and introduce volunteers to the PHR process, the asylum system, and special considerations for vulnerable populations

  2. When ready, select a case and work with a Downstate-trained case manager to schedule the evaluation. The client's lawyer will provide background information.

  3. Perform the evaluation (usually 1-2 hours). A medical student scribe will sit in the room and take notes on the encounter. A secondary evaluator may be present to assist in the evaluation and for their own training. These evaluations may be performed in person or virtually.

  4. Edit the affidavit draft provided by the scribe. Once satisfied, present the notarized affidavit to the client's lawyer for inclusion in their legal case.

For Students

We are always looking for dedicated, passionate medical students who are interested in volunteering.  In order to become a volunteer, students must first attend an asylum training, hosted by SUNY Downstate or another PHR-affiliated chapter.  Once trained, students work closely with clinicians to evaluate asylum seekers for physical and/or psychological signs of torture and prepare medicolegal affidavits in support of their asylum applications.  There are also opportunities to assist with the running of the clinic on a day-to-day basis by becoming a member of the Downstate Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and Asylum Clinic Student Board.

Attend a Training

SUNY Downstate hosted its first-ever Asylum training in 2019, and we are looking forward to hosting a (remote) training soon again. Please e-mail us if you are interested in attending, and keep an eye out for updates! In addition, trainings are also available throughout other schools. Check out PHR's website for upcoming trainings through other clinics as well.