Human Rights Clinic

The Human Rights Clinic (HRC) is an asylum clinic at Denver Health that provides low cost medical and mental health forensic evaluations and directly collaborates with attorneys representing individuals applying for asylum and other legal statuses in Colorado.

Representing attorneys use findings from these Forensic evaluations to provide objective documentation of… physical and psychological injuries and trauma. This documentation becomes evidence that can corroborate the asylum seeker’s narrative of persecution.

One study showed that, among individuals who had a forensic examination bolstering their immigration case between 2000-2004, the asylum grant rate was 89% compared to the national average asylum grant rate of 37.5% during that time period.

How it Works

  1. Legal partners refer individuals applying for asylum and other legal statuses to HRC for forensic evaluations.
  2. Denver Health is a unique health system that provides sliding scale health care for patients, irrespective of legal status. HRC systematically enrolls qualifying patients in Denver Health’s Financial Assistance Program (DFAP) or Colorado Indigent Care Program (CICP) to allow them access to HRC services and linkage to a primary care physician and ongoing care.
  3. Volunteer medical and mental health providers conduct forensic evaluations at Denver Health and at the GEO Immigration Detention Facility in Aurora. Then, evaluators write up their findings in the form of an affidavit, a legal document used by attorneys in court proceedings.

Learn more about the Human Rights Clinic (HRC)

Services Provided

  • Sliding-scale enrollment - HRC systematically enrolls eligible clients seeking legal status in DFAP or CICP so that minimal co-pays will be charged for both the forensic evaluations(s) and for ongoing care with a primary care medical provider within a medical home.
  • Forensic Evaluations – Volunteers provide trauma-informed medical and mental health forensic evaluations for individuals applying for asylum and other legal statuses (at Denver Health and at the ICE/GEO Immigrant Detention Center in Aurora).
  • Linkage to care – After performing forensic evaluations, we link interested patients to a medical home and primary care medical provider at one of DH’s Federally Qualified Health Centers or one of School-based Health Centers. If a client lives outside of the Denver area, the evaluator may work with the legal team to identify a low-cost clinic closer to the client.
  • Humanitarian Release Letters – In addition to forensic evaluations, HRC volunteers provide Medical and Mental Health Humanitarian release letters for people who are held in detention at the GEO Immigrant Detention Center in Aurora, CO.
  • Advocacy – HRC’s volunteer providers have provided legislative testimony and written editorials advocating for access to health care for individuals who are involved in immigration proceedings. 
  • Education/Training – HRC provides mentorship to the Internal Medicine and Pediatric Residents at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado to write medical humanitarian release letters for ICE/GEO detainees; trains medical providers and residents to conduct forensic evaluations; provides lectures to social workers, nursing and medical staff on legal status as a social determinant of health and how to link patients to legal services; and provides teaching sessions to the legal community on HRC services; HRC team members also present at the North American Refugee Health Conference, as well as at other venues on HRC work and outcomes.
  • Research/Quality Improvement – HRC partners with the Denver Health Office of Research to evaluate health care diagnoses, utilization, cost, and legal case outcomes.
  • Collaborations – HRC collaborates with many partners throughout Colorado and the US including Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), International Rescue Committee, Physicians for Human Rights, Society for Asylum Medicine, Society for Refugee Healthcare Providers, the Kempe Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of Colorado Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, and the Denver University School of Psychology.

How to Refer a Client to the Human Rights Clinic

Forensic Evaluations
To refer a client for a forensic evaluation with HRC, please complete a Forensic Evaluation Request Form

Humanitarian Release Letter
To request a humanitarian release letter for a client, please complete a Humanitarian Letter Request Form

Please Note: HRC accepts referrals from attorneys ONLY

Volunteer Opportunities

If you are a licensed Medical or Mental Health provider interested in volunteering, please complete the HRC Volunteer Evaluator Interest Form.

How is the Human Rights Clinic different from the Denver Health Refugee Clinic?

The Human Rights Clinic receives referrals from legal partners to conduct evaluations of individuals who are currently applying for asylum and involved in immigration proceedings. All of HRC operations are funded through grants and private donors.

The Denver Health Refugee Clinic receives funding through the Colorado Department of Human Services and Medicaid reimbursement to perform Centers for Disease Control- recommended Domestic Medical Examinations for newcomers with legal status, including refugees and asylees.

The Human Rights Clinic at DH thanks its funders for providing generous support to allow our work to continue.

Human Rights Clinic Staff

  • Jaime Moo-Young, MD, Medical Director, General Internal Medicine
  • Erica Blum-Barnett, MSPH, Operations Manager
  • Abigail Steiner, MS MPH, Data Coordinator/Research

Contact Information

For all other inquiries, please contact


Click to donate to the Human Rights Clinic at Denver Health.

Under “Designation”, select “Other,” and type in “Human Rights Clinic”