Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights

Established in 1998, the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) at Boston Medical Center plays a vital role in the efforts to assist refugees and asylum seekers, welcoming more than 300 refugees and survivors of torture each year. The center aims to provide a safe haven and holistic care to men and women from around the world who have suffered persecution in their countries of origin, honoring the importance of community and dignity as a vehicle of healing and recovery. "Our goal is to provide a safe environment in which our patients can heal from trauma, torture and, at times, atrocities, while acclimating to a new culture to which they have been forced to flee. When we first meet, most present with great despair along with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression," says Director Lin Piwowarczyk, MD, MPH.

With a holistic approach to care, BCRHHR helps patients recover from trauma while adjusting to life in the United States. As many patients have been exposed to extremes of human cruelty, the center offers comprehensive core services including mental health, family medicine and obstetric and gynecological care. In addition, the center provides on-site career development and English classes, as well as linkages to the US immigration and social services systems. The program is a national leader in providing a multidisciplinary model, using staff and pro bono counsel, and forms highly effective partnerships with legal assistance groups to provide medical testimony that is often critical to successful asylum petitions. The center is a place of healing and hope, training professionals and agencies who serve a refugee population and building community through dinners and celebrations.