Since 2003, asylum seekers requiring a medical evaluation have been referred to the Yale Center for Asylum Medicine (YCAM) by attorneys from law schools, including Yale, the University of Connecticut, and Columbia, as well as human rights groups, including Physicians for Human Rights, HealthRight International, the American Friends Service Committee, the Center for Immigrants and Refugees, and Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, among others. These applicants describe experiencing unlawful detention, torture, harassment, domestic violence, female genital cutting, and homophobic hate crimes and come to the United States to seek safety and build a new life.
The Center’s trained clinicians perform a forensic medical interview and examination to document physical and psychological scars and functional impairments. These objective findings are presented to immigration authorities and judiciary members in the form of an affidavit and/or testimony.
Medical students, residents, and fellows assist YCAM faculty as they perform medical examinations of asylum applicants at Yale School of Medicine or a nearby detention facility. Trainees complete formal training to assist with evaluations. Residents, fellows, and students at the School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health learn about asylum medicine and local global health through lectures, workshops, trainings, and presentations on campus and at regional and national meetings. YCAM has hosted national meetings to teach physicians from the U.S. and Canada about forensic evaluations. YCAM collaborates extensively with legal and human rights professionals to advance knowledge and research in the field of asylum medicine.