Dr. Joanne Ahola is a psychiatrist in New York. She is medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, which trains medical students to perform asylum evaluations. She has been a member of PHR’s Asylum Network since 1999. She received her medical degree from Stony Brook University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
In her capacity as volunteer member of the Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Network, Ahola has evaluated a number of asylum seekers, developing special expertise in LGBTI asylum cases, in applicants with one year filing deadline problems, and in providing expert testimony in court. She serves as an instructor for medical students and residents about asylum issues and serves as a national trainer for the PHR Asylum Network. Ahola also maintains a private practice in psychiatry in New York City and is medical director emeritus of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR).
Dr. Ahola serves as Medical Director of Research Institute Without Walls, an NGO researching and training on issues related to LGBTI asylum seekers. She has published on the mental health challenges of LGBTI asylum seekers with Dr. Ariel Shidlo, and together they have created a scale for assessing sexual orientation and gender identity in LGBT refugees.
In 2010, Dr. Ahola was recruited by medical students who founded the WCCHR as a Medical Director and Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. Almost two dozen medical schools now have human rights or asylum clinics based on the WCCHR model.
Ahola received her M.D. from Stony Brook University. She completed her residency and chief residency at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.