The Role of a Student
In a forensic evaluation, the clinician will ask a client for a thorough history of their persecution and other traumatic events, assess the client for possible abuse sequelae, document the psychological and/or physical evidence of persecution, and state the degree of consistency between the narrative that the client has given and the evidence of torture that is found.
Students will serve as scribes during this process. This requires them to take detailed notes of the client’s history during the evaluation. Once the interview is completed and all parties feel as though they understand the client’s case, a physical examination is performed to identify medical sequelae of persecution. Students will help document any physical evidence during this component of the evaluation. Students then prepare a draft of the legal affidavit that can be edited and finalized by the evaluating physician to be used in the client’s case in immigration court.
Students must undergo formal training at a Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Training event prior to serving as a medical scribe for HRI. These training events are full day conferences designed to educate medical students, physicians, lawyers, and other professionals how to effectively investigate and document torture in asylum-seekers. Those who attend the training sessions are taught about immigration law, the asylum process, and how to properly identify physical and psychological sequelae of trauma and torture.