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At CHRIA, we conduct research to better understand the client population we serve, both in order to improve services we provide and to disseminate important information regarding the unique challenges of asylum-seeking populations to the wider community. The issues faced by individuals seeking asylum are complex, and the research we carry out is therefore interdisciplinary and diverse in nature as we seek to better understand issues impacting asylee mental health, physical well-being, and factors impacting case outcomes. Currently, we have two outstanding Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols that cover research being conducted at CHRIA and are hoping to expand our research efforts in the near future.

The Impact of Medical and Psychological Evaluations on the Asylum Seeker Experience

This IRB protocol covers a wide range of research activities being conducted at CHRIA. The primary aim of this ongoing study is to collect data from affidavits submitted for legal asylum claims in order to better understand the impact of psychological and medical evaluations conducted on CHRIA on case outcomes for individuals seeking asylum. This includes examination of whether legal claims were successful or unsuccessful, how formal evaluations impact the timeline of asylum claims, and characterization of the general experience of conducting claim-supporting evaluations at CHRIA. Under this protocol, we also collect data regarding the different experiences of violence individuals seeking asylum have endured and seek to better characterize the psychiatric and medical diagnoses of individuals seeking asylum at CHRIA.

Survey of Knowledge and Interest in Providing Asylum Medical Care

Owing to their experiences of significant trauma, persecution, and torture, individuals seeking asylum often have a high level of medical needs. However, many physicians identify challenges in providing adequate care to this specific population of patients. As a result, there exists significant potential for improving physician training and education regarding asylum medical care and the unique needs of individuals seeking asylum. Under this protocol, we seek to better characterize baseline knowledge of and interest in asylum medical care among the CUIMC medical community, particularly medical students, in order to determine how education on such care can best be integrated into the medical curriculum. The purpose of this study is to characterize the gap that exists between medical student interest and knowledge in such care in order to substantiate calls for dedication of space in the curriculum specifically dedicated to understanding the medical needs of individuals seeking asylum.

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