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Immigrant & Refugee Health Program

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.

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.

Nicolette Oleng, MD is a board-certified internist and clinical faculty at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Oleng' works in the Women's Health Group – focused on providing quality primary care to women in Boston. Dr. Oleng's main interest is in providing comprehensive medical care to immigrant and refugee women. She believes that early integration into the health care system of persons not born in the United States is key to their successful integration into society, and is an important public health approach to a healthy society. Dr. Oleng' is also particularly interested in trauma and non-trauma mental health problems in the immigrant and refugee population, and their role in chronic disease and illness. Prior to joining BMC, Dr. Oleng's experience with immigrant population health includes Migrant Workers Clinic and Refugee Clinic in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Oleng' is from Kenya, and speaks Swahili, which is very useful in some of our refugee patient populations from East Africa, including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Somali and Sudan.


Bassima Abdallah is a second year Internal Medicine resident in the Global Health Pathway. She attended medical school at Boston University School of Medicine and stayed on for residency to continue to work with underserved populations and International patients. She was born and raised in Beirut , Lebanon and has had an interest in working with refugee populations even before she began to pursue medicine as a career. While she plans to pursue a fellowship in Pulmonary / Critical Care after residency, her hope is to continue to work with refugee and underserved populations, and ultimately plans to work with Palestinian and Syrian refugee populations in Lebanon. 

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.

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.

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.

Tomoko Okada, MD is a second year Medicine resident in the Primary Care track at BMC. She is particularly interested in working with underserved populations, immigrants, and people with low English proficiency. Her interest in Refugee health started a long before medical school when she was a graduate student in International Affairs, working in Cambodia. Following residency, she plans to work as a primary care physician in urban community settings.

Gayatri Patel, MD is a second year Medicine resident in the Urban Health track at BMC. Her initial interest in joining the refugee health clinic stemmed from work she did in Mae Sot, Thailand which borders Burma, a country known for its human rights violations. She met many Burmese refugees crossing the border to have access to healthcare. This invigorated her interest in learning more about basic human rights. Additionally, in medical school, she shadowed a physician who led a refugee clinic. She met females from FGM (female genital mutilation)-practicing communities which further expanded her interest in learning more about human rights abuse and becoming an advocate for the vulnerable population. She plans on continuing to work with a global patient population after residency, thus the knowledge she gains through the refugee clinic will be impactful in how she manages and connects with patients after training. 

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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