Project Description


Our mission is to provide forensic medical and psychologic evaluations to survivors of persecution seeking asylum in the United States and to educate the medical community on caring for asylum seekers and refugees.


An asylee is someone who is unwilling or unable to return to a home country becuase of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Asylum is a permanenty residency status granted by a government to such individuals. In order to be granted asylum, the asylee must provide compelling evidence to back up their claims of abuse.

The MGH Asylum Clinic at the Center for Global Health, under the direction of Matthew Gartland, MD, was founded in 2017 to assist with this process. After receiving training from Physicians for Human Rights, MGH clinicians volunteer their time to provide independent, forensic medical assessments of individuals seeking asylum based on a past history of physical or mental abuse. The clinic meets on the first and third Monday of each month on the MGH campus.

When physicians are able to corroborate stories of abuse through a forensic medical exam, applicants have a significanly higher chance of receiving asylum. Asylum applicants who underwent a medical exam received asylum 89 percent of the time, compared with under 38 percent of all asylum seekers nationally, according to one studied cited in Scientific Daily.

“These are the stories of our patients and our neighbors. They are difficult for patients to relive and often difficult to hear,” Gartland says. “If we educate ourselves, create an open environment and support patients to process life after trauma, we can have an incredible impact on people’s lives.”



  • 183 clients from 42 countries have received evaluations
  • 45 clients have received asylum or related form of relief
  • 4 cases referred to immigration court or denied
  • 25% of clients are sexual or gender minorities
  • 45% of clients require an interpreter, provided free of charge by MGH Medical Interpreter Services


Lawyers for asylum seekers complete a referral form for their clients case and submits it to the MGH Asylum Clinic via redcap. The administrative coordinator follows up with the lawyer to confirm the submission and then gets the applicants case ready for triage. The clinical triage team reviews the cases and identifies and assigns them to the appropriate provider, at which time the appointment is scheduled.


Massachusetts General Hospital Asylum Clinic at the Center for Global Health
Cox 5, 55 Fruit St. Boston, MA 02114 — Monthly, 1st and 3rd Mondays — 5pm – 8pm | 617.643.6911