Physicians for Human Rights An Introduction to Forensic Documentation of Trauma: Evaluating Survivors of Torture and Ill Treatment

November 4, 2023

Needs Statement

Thousands of survivors of human rights abuses seek humanitarian protection in the U.S. annually, relying on personal narratives of abuse to support claims to asylum. Medical legal documentation of physical and psychological sequelae of abuse by health professionals trained in the forensic evaluation of asylum seekers offers significant support to survivors' asylum claims. However, the need for evaluations exceeds the number of providers trained to perform them. Though many providers wish to assist in substantiating asylum seekers' legal claims to protection, relatively few have been formally trained in performing forensic physical and psychological evaluations and preparing supporting medical-legal affidavits. Additionally, some who previously underwent training have voiced a desire for further education before confidently performing evaluations independently. This training will equip participants to recognize sequelae of human rights abuses and provide forensic evaluations on behalf of survivors, with the goal of increasing the number of professionals trained to provide evaluations locally. Upon completion of the training, fully licensed professionals will be able to conduct evaluations, while students and trainees will be able to assist with preparing the affidavit that supports the client’s legal case for asylum. Participants will also have the option to become a volunteer in the Baylor College of Medicine Human Rights and Asylum Clinic through the Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Network.

Target Audience

This activity is designed for any health professional interested in conducting or assisting with forensic evaluations documenting evidence of physical and/or psychological trauma in support of asylum seekers’ legal claims to asylum, including physician faculty, residents, fellows, medical students, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical psychologists, social workers, and nurses.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the conference, participants should be able to:

  • Outline the immigration and asylum process in the United States and the important role of the health professional and forensic documentation in these processes.
  • Describe the variety of presentations of emotional and psychological trauma characteristic of immigrant survivors of torture and maltreatment who are seeking humanitarian protection in the U.S.
  • Evaluate the ethical considerations and professional responsibilities of healthcare professionals in evaluating the physical sequelae of abuse in immigrant survivors of torture and maltreatment seeking humanitarian protection in the U.S. 
  • Identify the components of a successful forensic interview for immigrant survivors of torture and maltreatment who are seeking humanitarian protection in the U.S., and implement best practices for structuring and managing the interview process.

Educational Methods

 Lecture ▪ Panel Discussion ▪ Other ▪ Question and Answer 

Activity Evaluation

Evaluation by questionnaire will address program content, presentation, and possible bias.


For questions, please contact Nikita Gidh at

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 4.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 4.00 Attendance
  • 1.00 Ethics
  • 4.00 Social Work
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
11/04/2023 - 9:00am CDT
Event ends: 
11/04/2023 - 3:00pm CDT

Physician: Baylor College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Baylor College of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Social Worker: Baylor College of Medicine, Office of Continuing Medical Education (License Number 7270) is an approved continuing education provider for Social Workers through the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners. This activity has been approved for 4.00 continuing education units.

Ethics: The presentations, Ethical Presentation on Accessing Protection Under US Law, has been designated by Baylor College of Medicine for 1.00 credit of education in medical ethics and/or professional responsibility.

Available Credit

  • 4.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 4.00 Attendance
  • 1.00 Ethics
  • 4.00 Social Work
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