Working to protect and fulfill human rights.

Human rights and public health are inextricably linked. When human rights are respected, individuals are enabled to reach their full potential and their highest degree of attainable health. The CPHI, therefore, endeavors to launch and support programs that protect, fulfill and advocate for human rights (as outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights) in the Philadelphia area, nationally and globally. Specific projects and academic programs focused on human rights supported by the CPHI include:

Asylum Evaluators Consultation Group

The Asylum Evaluators Consultation Group (AECG) was developed to support mental health providers who document the psychological impact of human rights abuses for individuals seeking asylum or other forms of immigration relief. The group is open to psychologists and psychiatrists who provide written or oral testimony in immigration court, along with their students. AECG, led by CPHI Fellow Judy Eidelson began meeting in 2010, and has provided a forum for discussing the personal experiences of group members dealing with challenging and sometimes disturbing cases, along with more general discussions of matters ranging from updates in immigration law or guidelines, to strategies for dealing with ethical conflicts or the use of standardized assessment tools. In accordance with professional ethics, confidentiality is maintained in discussion of individual clients. The general purposes of the group are to increase the availability of competent pro bono mental health evaluators for asylum seekers, both by providing training opportunities for novice evaluators, and by preventing burn-out among seasoned professionals. For more information contact

Penn Human Rights Clinic

Penn Human Rights Clinic (PHRC) is a medical student-run clinic dedicated to providing psychiatric and physical evaluations of survivors of persecution seeking asylum in the United States. PHRC was founded in 2012 as a collaboration between Physicians for Human Rights and medical students and physicians at the University of Pennsylvania. Each year, tens of thousands of people apply for asylum in the United States in order to escape torture, trafficking, and other forms of persecution. By documenting the physical and psychological sequelae of persecution and submitting a medical-legal affidavit to court, physicians and students can make a difference in whether these individuals are granted asylum or other relief from deportation. For more information about this program, visit

Penn Center for Primary Care Refugee Clinic

The Refugee Clinic at the Penn Center for Primary Care (PCPC) is run as a collaborative effort between the Primary Care and Global Health tracks of the Internal Medicine Residency program at the University of Pennsylvania, and the resettlement agency, HIAS Pennsylvania. Opened on October 15, 2010 the clinic currently operates every Monday afternoon with 27 rotating residents, and sees over 75 new arrivals each year. Eight different languages are commonly spoken in clinic. About 60% of the patients seen have come from Bhutan, 20% from Burma, and 20% from Africa (Eritrea, Liberia, Darfur). For more information see

Service Link

Service Link was founded by the CPHI to improve the health of low-income patients in Philadelphia by linking them with a variety of benefits that they have a right to attain under current US legislation. Benefits that improve access to food, healthcare and heating services help to fulfill the human rights outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The program focuses on addressing the social determinants of health through education and community engagement. Service Link is currently working in four clinics and also includes a medical-legal partnership with the Toll Public Interest Center at the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania. For more information see

Global Human Rights Certificate

The mission of the Global Human Rights Certificate is to promote human rights at Penn with enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. The certificate offers curricular options for gaining knowledge of global human rights through a variety of courses across various disciplines. Through this Certificate, students gain a working knowledge of the core international human rights documents, treaties, and mechanisms. By taking a cross-disciplinary approach, students are challenged to look at similar topics or questions from different approaches. For more information about this program, visit