Vidya Kumar Ramanathan, MD, MPH is a pediatrician in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the medical director of the University of Michigan Asylum Collaborative. A physician expert for Physicians for Human Rights. Dr. Ramanathan has been working with refugees and asylum seekers for more than 20 years and has conducted forensic and psychological evaluations for asylum seekers since 2006. She has performed more than 500 such evaluations and has testified in the immigration courts more than 30 times. In Michigan, Dr. Ramanathan performs these evaluations in collaboration with PHR, Freedom House Detroit, the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, and other community organizations. She has also been traveling to the Mexican border since the onset of U.S. zero tolerance immigration policies and has been an outspoken advocate for border policy reform. Dr. Ramanathan has been conducting the medical portion of asylum training sessions for the University of Michigan Asylum Collaborative since its inception in 2013. Her current work is mostly with unaccompanied and separated children entering the United States from Mexico.
Dr. Ramanathan was presented with an award created in her name by Freedom House Detroit in 2018 for her “invaluable contributions and unparalleled commitment to asylum seekers living at Freedom House Detroit, as well as on behalf of all those ‘yearning to breathe free'”: the Dr. Vidya Ramanathan Volunteer Award.