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
Learn and develop skills such as interpreting, grant writing, and leadership skils
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.
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 and in-person evaluations.
We are currently working on developing a CHIP program for PACH's Student-Run Medical Clinic Nights (outside of normal clinic operating hours).
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."
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were unable to travel during the 2020-2021 academic year, but we hope to resume the Tijuana Trip this year!
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 at the Phoenix Allies for Community Health Clinic or virtually.
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
PACH Student Clinic Partnership
We are partnering with Phoenix Allies for Community Health, a nonprofit organization and free clinic which provides care to some of our most vulnerable community members. We plan to expand the clinic's operating hours by hosting student-run clinic nights and collaborating with PACH on social determinants of health projects and screenings. For more information on PACH, please visit their website at: https://azpach.org/about-2/mission-and-vision/.
If you are interested in volunteering at PACH, you must attend the new volunteer orientation this July 14th, 2021.
Link to the orientation materials: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-e6NvuLai9hyukw-r5BNeXIEiUMZM0mg?usp=sharing
Contact: Ashley Kern
Future Projects: MS1s Wanted
The Migrant Health Interest Group is looking for the leaders from the next class to help continue the work accomplished this year. Our goals are to expand opportunities in the area of migrant health and provide 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.
Want to get involved with MHIG? Click here to access a slide deck with more information regarding our current initiatives.
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.