Oregon PSR recently received the following request for training medical professionals in asylum evaluations from Aryan Sarparast, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health and Science University:
"There are currently approximately 60+ Afghans resettled in Oregon, and that number is expected to rise in the coming months. We estimate 300 by September 2022, and 1,200 or more by the end of 2022.
The resettled Afghans have one year before their humanitarian parolee status expires. After that they risk undocumented status, can reapply for parolee status, or apply for asylum as a long-term solution. Approximately 20-30% of asylum applications are approved. That number is more like 90% when a medical or psychiatric evaluation is involved to identify adversity that necessitates asylum. Therefore, there is a time-sensitive need for more medical professionals being trained in asylum evaluations. This is a humanitarian issue.
If you are interested in participating in evaluations, you will require an attorney to assist with the filing. I work with SOAR immigration services in Portland in a team led by attorney Caroline van der Harten. Our team includes a handful of psychiatrists, resident trainees, a social worker, and other support service members.
Myself and the team of doctors I work with do this work completely pro bono. Most of us have a connection with the refugee struggle and consider this a moral obligation. Most of us do not have prior experience doing evaluations and we lean on the supervision offered to us by partners throughout the nation that we've connected with. We plan to begin our first evaluations in Spring 2022.
To become part of this work I suggest the following:
- Get trained: Monitor the Physicians for Humans Rights Asylum Training webpage. They have not yet posted trainings for this year, but feel welcome to email them for upcoming trainings. OHSU will be tentatively hosting a training in Spring of 2022.
- Join a legal team like SOAR or form your own working on asylum evaluations in need of physicians. If you'd like to join the SOAR team, contact me ([email protected]) or Caroline van der Harten ([email protected]).
- Learn more with the resources below:
- View an example of a psychological forensic evaluation
- Read Understanding to Afghan Refugee Crisis by Human Rights First
- Read an asylum fact sheet from Physicians for Human Rights and find more information about PHR's asylum network"
Aryan Sarparast, MD