There are far more people seeking humanitarian protection than there are physicians and mental health professionals who are able to substantiate claims of severe abuse. Because our evaluators play such an integral role in the operations of the clinic, HRI has created an intensive training program.
In addition to providing technical training, clinician education and training also furthers medicine’s goal to assist the most vulnerable—those who have been subjected to human rights abuses by the government, authority figures, members of their own community, or sometimes even by relatives. Trainees will use their medical expertise to document the experiences of these individuals and strengthen their requests for lasting humanitarian protection.
Our training objectives include:
- Developing an understanding of the process of seeking asylum in the United States and the role of healthcare professionals and forensic documentation in this process
- Developing an understanding of how to identify, evaluate, and describe various physical presentations of prior torture or abuse
- Developing an understanding of how to identify, evaluate, and describe various emotional and psychological sequelae of prior torture or abuse
- Gaining the knowledge and skills needed to write an objective affidavit documenting medical and psychiatric evaluations of asylum-seekers
- Becoming aware of useful literature and other resources regarding the medical professional’s role in the legal process of seeking asylum
Currently, our clinician training program has three components:
- Medical forensics: Evaluators wishing to join our team receive 4 hours of instruction on the medical, psychiatric, and legal aspects of client evaluations. In these trainings, clinicians are taught by healthcare and legal professionals and scholars to recognize signs and symptoms of torture and abuse, and to produce appropriate documentation supporting claims for asylum-seekers.
- Sample documents: In addition to training events, evaluators are given sample affidavits and mock cases to better understand their role in the evaluation process. These resources enable first-time evaluators to successfully perform and write up physical or psychiatric evaluations.
- Case shadowing: First-time evaluators are paired with experienced clinicians to observe an evaluation before conducting their own.