Migrant Health Interest Group / Physicians for Human Rights

Why Migrant Health?

  • Work with vulnerable populations, underserved communities, and incarcerated asylum-seekers in Arizona

  • Mitigate the human crisis in our state, one of only 4 border states

  • Put social justice ideals into practice

  • Learn about legal-medical partnerships

  • Practice trauma-informed care

  • Learn new cultures and languages

  • Practice community medicine

  • Learn about physicians' role in legislative advocacy

MHIG Mission Statement

The mission of the Migrant Health Interest Group is to educate, train, and mobilize Arizona’s medical students, health care workers, and doctors in the care of refugees, migrants, and new Americans.


Contact:

Jahnavi Shriram - Co-President jshriram@email.arizona.edu

Eshaan Kashyap - Co-President eshaank@email.arizona.edu

Elen Mendoza - Vice President of the Asylum Evaluation Clinic elenmendoza@email.arizona.edu

Rachel Mendoza - Vice President of PHR/Legislative Advocacy rachelmendoza@email.arizona.edu

Ashley Kern - PACH CHIP Site Coordinator ashleykern@email.arizona.edu

Mariana Erin McCune - Vice President of Outreach and Volunteering marianamccune@email.arizona.edu

Physicians for Human Rights

Asylum Evaluation Clinic

  • PHR student program offers medical students the opportunity to use history-gathering and physical exam skills to provide forensic evaluations for asylum seekers in Arizona's ICE detention centers

  • Shadowing asylum evaluations not only exposes students to the unique points of view of human rights atrocity survivors, but also allows them to observe and practice trauma-informed interviewing and cross-cultural communication.

  • Asylum Clinic volunteers may receive CHIP hours for participating in virtual evaluations at this time. We are currently working on establishing the Asylum Clinic as an in-person CHIP site.

What We Do

Tijuana Service Trip

Annual faculty and student service trip to Tijuana, Mexico, with the Refugee Health Alliance to help run the mobile Saturday clinics at the shelters housing families of refugees and asylum seekers waiting to enter into the U.S.

"Every Saturday, at overcrowded shelters throughout Tijuana, RHA hosts mobile clinics for those who are unable to travel to their main clinic. Clinical teams of 15 -35 physicians, nurses, EMTs and other medical volunteers typically see between 80-160 patients."


See "Our History" Below


Asylum Clinic and Asylum Evaluation Trainings

We offer trainings to learn asylum evaluation documentation. Students then may assist UA faculty in conducting medical evaluations and writing an affidavit, which will be used as expert witness testimony in an immigration trial. These encounters take place inside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers.

Humanitarian Parole Letter Program

We work with local immigration lawyers to start a new program writing letters on behalf of asylum seekers in ICE detention facilities who are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 or especially vulnerable to complications of illness. Physician letters can be used to show the immigration court that the client is unsafe in detention and argue for their release. The letter is written after reviewing medical records provided by the attorney and deciphering the client's vulnerable status.

Contact: Mariana Erin McCune

marianamccune@email.arizona.edu

Future Projects: MS1s Wanted

The Migrant Health Interest Group is looking for the leaders from the next class to help continue the work accomplished in the 2020-2021 year. Our goals are to expand opportunities in the area of migrant health for UACOM-P by creating a new in-person CHIP site in Phoenix that provides comprehensive and culturally-competent care to recently arrived and/or undocumented immigrants. We are seeking passionate active leaders to take over and plan the various projects that improve medical care for uninsured and undocumented members of our community.

Our History

The Migrant Health Interest Group (MHIG) organizes opportunities available to all UACOM-P students to learn and gain experience related to migrant health and the role of physicians in mitigating the migrant crisis here in Arizona, along the U.S.-Mexico border, and abroad. Our goals are to partner with clinician networks on the U.S.-Mexico border for educational resources and volunteer opportunities and to gain clinical experience in migrant crisis centers and federal immigrant detention facilities in Arizona and other border states. With the support of Physicians for Human Rights National Student Program (PHR), we send students to conferences to train to provide legal-medical documentation for asylum seekers and refugees, to train in trauma-informed care, and to learn about the specific health problems that affect this population through educational events, networking, and by gaining first-hand experience as medical volunteers.

MHIG’s accomplishments in the 2020-2021 academic year reflect the mission of the interest group. First, MHIG partnered with the University of Arizona COM-Tucson and The Arizona Asylum Network to host a virtual PHR Asylum Evaluation Training conference. Students received training in asylum evaluation, a unique legal-medical partnership in which students use their medical knowledge to help immigrants in federal detention centers support their immigration cases by providing a history and physician exam and writing an affidavit that may be used in court (e.g., such a reporth may document physical signs of torture, abuse, psychological injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder).

MHIG is currently planning a second training session for the spring semester. Currently, we are conducting online evaluations and students are receiving CHIP hours for their contributions. MHIG is currently working to establish the Asylum Clinic as an in-person CHIP site. In the past, MHIG has sent numerous students to the detention centers in Florence and Eloy to employ these skills in doing asylum evaluations with University of Arizona faculty physicians.

Currently, MHIG is working to expand opportunities for students with PHR to work with local immigration lawyers to write letters on behalf of asylum seekers in ICE detention facilities who are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 or especially vulnerable to complications of illness. Physician letters can be used to show the immigration court that the client is unsafe in detention and argue for their release. The letter is written after reviewing medical records provided by the attorney and deciphering the client's vulnerable status.

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