Giving Refuge: Reflections on Working with Asylum Seekers

In the newspapers, we read wrenching stories about suffering in faraway places such as Sudan, Rwanda, Congo, and Myanmar; through this work, these stories have become real to me. Evaluating these immigrants has provided me with an international education…I discovered a new dimension of myself as a physician.— Dr. Katalin Roth, PHR Asylum Network Member

A moving account of the impact that documenting torture survivors’ experiences has had on one physician has been published in the July 2010 edition of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Dr. Katalin Roth, a longtime member of PHR’s Asylum Network, shares several clients’ stories and her own journey as their advocate in her article Giving Refuge: Reflections on Working with Asylum Seekers.Dr. Roth’s piece hits upon the most central and important benefits of helping asylum seekers gain safe haven in our country. Health professionals who do this work receive not only an education in international politics, culture, and the skills necessary to treat successfully survivors of trauma; they also carry the knowledge that their investigation and testimony directly and literally save livesMembers of PHR's Asylum Network help to heal suffering immigrants every day, and we are always seeking new volunteers. At present, our colleagues are protecting many thousands of vulnerable people from further harm by performing forensic examinations of individuals seeking human rights protections. They also work with government officials, Congress, and other non-profit advocates to secure policies that put health and safety within reach of at-risk newcomers.Dr. Roth’s excellent article can be downloaded herepdf (used with permission). You can join her in the ranks of PHR’s Asylum Network by contacting Kelly Holz, Asylum Network Coordinator, at kholz [at] phrusa [dot] org or 617-301-4248.

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