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Humanitarian Award Presented to Miller School Physician

3/26/2010

The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) has honored Miller School faculty member Stephen Symes, M.D., associate professor of medicine, for his work on behalf of immigrants. Last month Dr. Symes was given FIAC's Arthur Helton Humanitarian Award during an awards dinner in downtown Miami.

In 2009 Dr. Symes played a key role in helping an FIAC client in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody get urgently needed surgery. Dr. Symes' medical opinion, which was based on the woman's medical records, helped win a federal court lawsuit ordering her treatment.

"I deeply admire what FIAC has been doing to ensure that justice is served to immigrants, despite flaws in the immigration laws," says Dr. Symes, who directs the internal medicine and the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity residency programs. "We try to really be advocates for patients in terms of addressing health disparities, and in terms of teaching the next generation of doctors to do the same."

"Dr. Symes has made time to help us get urgently needed medical care for clients in immigration detention," says FIAC Executive Director Cheryl Little. "His invaluable assistance has prevented needless pain and suffering, and even saved lives."

FIAC is one of the nation's largest non-profit immigration law firms, and has closed more than 65,000 cases since opening its doors in January 1996.