Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get trained to do these evaluations?

Most referrals come from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a New York-based organization that works globally to promote human rights. PHR screens referrals from legal partners and passes on clients to the USC-Keck Human Rights Clinic. In order to conduct exams for PHR, each volunteer examiner must have completed a PHR training session in the past and be an active member of the PHR asylum network. The USC-Keck Human Rights Clinic will also accept some referrals from local legal partners. Faculty examiners for these cases do not need to be members of the PHR network.

Who are the clients?

Clients include immigrants who require forensic documentation for maltreatment experienced overseas such as political torture, gang violence, gender-based persecution, and domestic violence. In most cases, clients will be asylum seekers.

How do I schedule a case?

The USC-Keck Human Rights Clinic will screen each referral and then work to place the case with one of you. Once you have accepted a case, you will be connected to the client’s attorney and will receive the client’s asylum application and declaration. The declaration includes the client’s narrative about their experience with maltreatment. We are attempting to host a monthly clinic at our site but we can also work around your availability. The medical student leadership team will help coordinate the scheduling between the client, interpreter, and attorney for a time that works with your schedule.

Do I need to be able to speak another language?

No, the referring attorney is required to provide the interpreter.

Where do the exams take place?

Exams can take place in our space which is located in a peaceful USC office setting in Alhambra. We also encourage you to perform the exam in your own clinical space if that is more convenient.

How long does the exam take?

The exam duration varies but we suggest you leave about 2.5 hours to complete your history, physical, and photographs with the client.

Do I need medical insurance? Will I be medically liable to these clients?

No, the forensic exam does not constitute medical care and therefore does not require malpractice coverage. The exam and report are voluntary for each client, and the report becomes the property of the attorney and client, who will decide how best to use the report for the upcoming legal proceedings.

WIll I be asked to testify in court?

In most cases, you will not be asked to testify in court. If you are asked to do so by the attorney, this is not a subpoena and is optional based on your schedule. We encourage you to provide testimony when asked if your schedule permits. You can request to provide testimony by telephone during a specific time frame.