Immigrant & Refugee Health Program

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Our Team


Sondra Crosby, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health, at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, in the Departments of Medicine, and Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights, and is a general internist at Boston Medical Center.  Dr. Crosby has taught both nationally and internationally on caring for survivors of torture and on performing forensic medical evaluations utilizing the Istanbul Protocol. She is co-founder and co-director of the Boston University Forensic Medical Evaluation Group, an innovative interdisciplinary model which provides medical forensic documentation of torture, ill treatment and other physical abuse, including female genital mutilation.  Dr. Crosby and colleagues prepared an Amicus brief in the case of A-T vs Michael Mukaskey Case No. 07-2080 on the adverse health effects of female genital mutilation, a landmark case where an asylum denial was overturned by the attorney general.  Dr. Crosby has consulted on the care of hunger strikers in detention, in both state prison and Guantanamo Bay, as well as overseas, and has published in the medical literature as well as the Bahrain press about the medical complications of hunger strikes.  Dr. Crosby has served as a consultant to Physicians for Human Rights, and has evaluated the effects of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and displacement on Darfuri women living in a Refugee Camp in Chad, and former detainees in US detention at Guantanamo Bay, and at other sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, she served as a medical forensic expert for the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, investigating allegations of torture.

Elizabeth Rourke, MD is an internal medicine physician and co-director of the BMC Forensic Medical Evaluation Group. She has significant experience in the primary care of refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants; forensic evaluations of torture survivors; and providing testimonies in the Boston Immigration Court as an expert witness. Dr. Rourke is also fluent in French.

Sarah Kimball, MD is a board-certified internist and is clinical faculty at Boston University School of Medicine.  In addition to a love of primary care, Dr. Kimball’s main interest is in teaching social justice in a medical setting.   She has worked as lead trainer with Physicians for Human Rights to teach high quality standards for medical affidavit writing, in accordance with Istanbul Protocol standards.   She was a 2013-2014 Copello Health Advocacy Fellow through the National Physician Alliance.

Jessica Bender, MD is currently a chief medical resident in the Internal Medicine program at Boston Medical Center. She attended the University of Washington School of Medicine and participated in the Global Health Pathway, which allowed her to gain public health and clinical experience in Antsirabe, Madagascar.  During residency at BMC, she participated in refugee clinic as a second continuity clinic and has been thrilled to be able to continue the experience supervising residents. In the future, she hopes to work in a setting that allows her to combine her interests in primary care, global health, quality improvement, and medical education.


Payel Jhoom Roy, MD is a second year Medicine resident interested in all aspects of primary care, with a particular focus on underserved populations.  Her interest in Refugee health is sparked by a dedication to working toward justice for victims of trauma and human trafficking.  Following residency, she plans to pursue GIM fellowship for further training in primary care research and academics.

Shama Cash-Goldwasser, MD is a second year Medicine resident in the Global Health Track at BMC.  She chose to work in refugee health clinic because of her interest in vulnerable populations and her desire to provide excellent care to the many refugee patients she will have both during her residency at BMC and throughout her career.  She plans to work internationally doing tropical infectious disease clinical research.

Paul Long, MD is a second year Medicine resident in the Primary Care track at BMC. He became interested in joining the refugee health clinic at BMC for a few reasons. First, he likes meeting people from all parts of the world. Second, the opportunity to serve a vulnerable patient population was intriguing to him. Lastly, he would like to practice medicine outside the U.S. one day (specifically in East India) and he thought the refugee health clinic would provide a great exposure to diseases that affect global populations, which it has.

Pooja Chitneni, MD is a third year internal medicine resident in the urban health pathway. She is interested in refugee health because she enjoys seeing the variety and burden of disease as well as the social issues that are so common in the refugee population. In addition to interesting pathology of disease, refugee medicine allows her the opportunity to learn about different cultures, as well as law and policy. She plans to work as a hospitalist for a year and then will pursue a career in infectious disease medicine.

Karen Jiang, MD is a second year internal medicine resident in the Urban Health Pathway.  She developed an interest in advocating healthcare for the underserved when she took an elective on homelessness in medical school. She grew up in the suburbs of Boston and went to medical school in central mass. She has always viewed the different towns and different areas of Boston, whether affluent or underprivileged, as one community. The refugee clinic has given her an opportunity to meet all of the newcomers of our community. Their stories have opened her eyes to the turmoil taking place in other parts of the world. She hopes as their physician, she will help to ease her refugee patients transitions to their new lives in Boston through caring for their health and wellness.

RHAP Patient Coordinators

Samantha Shrager is the Financial Administrative Assistant in The Section of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Center. As part of her role, she coordinates the Refugee Health Assessment Program for both the pediatric and adult clinics. She is also a part-time student in the Boston University School of Public Health.


Saliha Abdal-Khabir, RN is an integral part of the FMEG and the Refugee Health Clinic. She has been a nurse for 21 years. She has worked at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and Boston Medical Center. She has also worked as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), in home care, and in HIV education and treatment in the Azores. Her work as a SANE nurse inspired her to further her training in forensic medicine. She began providing forensic medical evaluations to asylum seekers 5 years ago under the tutelage of Dr. Sondra Crosby. She has completed Physicians for Human Rights asylum training and is currently a part of the Asylum Network. While working in the Azores as a volunteer nurse, she created the first HIV educational center and the first discharge plan for HIV patients in the San Miguel Hospital system. She was also named Women of the Year for her work developing an HIV education and training program at the Lajes Airforce Base. She is originally from Storrs, CT and has a passion for traveling, knitting and cooking.


Immigrant & Refugee Primary Care

Shapiro Center
725 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118

Forensic Medical Evaluation Group
If you are an asylum seeker please call 617.414.5780

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