The LAHRI Asylum Clinic is a UCLA-based clinic that connects volunteer clinicians with clients seeking asylum.

Our goal is to make the forensic evaluation process as efficient as possible for both the clinician and client. Our team handles scheduling and communication between the involved parties, organizing an acceptable time and location to perform the evaluation.

Each case is handled by a trained case manager on the LAHRI Asylum Clinic team.

The scheduling process involves

  1. Screening the case
  2. Communicating with the client’s attorney about clinic requirements and case details (e.g., interpreter services, deadlines, court dates, etc.)
  3. Contacting our volunteer clinician network to determine availability
  4. Pairing the assigned clinician with a medical student volunteer, who aids in the evaluation process
  5. Scheduling the time and location the evaluation based on clinician, medical student, and client availability
  6. Connecting the clinician and attorney for the finalization of evaluation details
  7. Supporting the medical student and clinician volunteers in drafting the affidavit by providing templates and mentorship
  8. Following up with the client to determine the need for continuation of care and to offer further resources.

The case manager is available throughout this process to answer questions and address any issues that may arise.

Case placement and the responsibilities of the volunteer clinician

We take many factors into account when assigning a case to a volunteer clinician, including availability, case type, client gender preferences, etc. We aim to find the best fit between client and clinician to ensure that each evaluation runs as smoothly as possible.

In addition to conducting the evaluation, clinicians are responsible for the final affidavit. However, while the clinician ultimately signs off on and submits the document, medical student volunteers do the bulk of the writing. We are happy to connect volunteers with experienced evaluators, who can review affidavits and provide additional resources, if needed. While the clinician’s role in a case typically ends once the final draft of the affidavit has been submitted, clinicians may rarely be called in to court to testify as an expert witness.

The role of the medical student

Medical student volunteers play an integral role in documenting the history and examination of the client during the evaluation and in drafting an affidavit for review (usually due within two weeks of the evaluation). The clinician assigned to the case provides feedback and makes edits as necessary before signing off on the affidavit and submitting it to the client’s attorney. Our clinic provides templates and mentorship as needed to assist with the drafting of the affidavit.

Evaluation logistics

Evaluations are scheduled to fit the clinician, medical student, and client’s availabilities. Virtual evaluations may be conducted over Zoom. In-person evaluations usually take place in clinic spaces available to the clinician or the law office of the client’s attorney and will vary for each case. Attorneys are required to provide trained interpreters for the evaluation and ensure client transportation to the agreed upon location.