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Denver Health Provides Free Medical Evaluations for Asylum Seekers

February 15, 2019

Westword - Asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. must prove that they're fleeing legitimate threatening situations. But gathering enough evidence to prove that they've been harmed can prove challenging.

To respond to this challenge, five doctors created the Human Rights Clinic in October 2018 at Denver Health, which offers free physical and mental health evaluations for asylum seekers in Colorado and nearby states. Medical affidavits based on these evaluations are submitted to immigration courts and can greatly bolster an asylum seeker's story.

"We see that for our clients, these evaluations can often mean the difference between winning and losing a case," says Mekela Goehring, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Immigration Advocacy Network.

The five doctors who make up the Human Rights Clinic team volunteer at the clinic and specialize in pediatrics, internal medicine, infectious diseases, clinical psychology and gynecology. They look for signs of torture, gunshot wounds, evidence of sexual abuse, and any mental health symptoms associated with these types of traumas, like PTSD, anxiety and depression. Twenty individuals have been evaluated so far.

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