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“Their Stories Have Changed My Life”: Clinicians’ Reflections on Their Experience with and Their Motivation to Conduct Asylum Evaluations


Many clinicians perform asylum evaluations yet no studies describe the motivation to perform them or their perceived rewards. The number of asylum seekers in the US is increasing and more clinicians are needed as evaluators. A survey to an asylum evaluators’ network asked participants to qualitatively reflect on their experience and motivation. Answers were analyzed for themes and sentiment. Respondents cited commitment to humanistic and moral values, noted personal and family experiences, having skills, expertise, and career interests as drivers. They found the experience very rewarding personally and professionally, and in their perceived benefit to asylees. Negative sentiment was less frequent and centered on emotions related to client narratives. Process-oriented frustrations were also noted. This is the first published study describing clinicians’ motivation and experience with asylum evaluations. It may illuminate clinicians’ drive to volunteer, and serve as a resource for organizations for recruitment and education.

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We would like to thank Christy Fujio, Kelly Holtz and Jillian Tuck for their assistance with survey distribution, and all the clinicians of the PHR asylum network who responded to the survey. We would like to thank Pamela Saunders PhD, for her review of the manuscript and her helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Ranit Mishori.

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Mishori, R., Hannaford, A., Mujawar, I. et al. “Their Stories Have Changed My Life”: Clinicians’ Reflections on Their Experience with and Their Motivation to Conduct Asylum Evaluations. J Immigrant Minority Health 18, 210–218 (2016).

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  • Asylum evaluation
  • Volunteerism
  • Asylum seekers
  • Human rights
  • Underserved care