190761 A Perspective from the CDC: Refugee Health from There to Here

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:30 PM

Maureen Fonseca-Ford, MPH , Div. Global Migration and Quarantine, BIDS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Diego, CA
The mission of the Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to promote the health of US-bound refugees and immigrants and to prevent the importation of diseases of public health significance into the United States by refugees, immigrants, and other migrating populations.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1980 and the Federal Quarantine Regulations assign DGMQ roles and authorities that provide a unique responsibility and opportunity to improve refugee health. In recent years, DGMQ has responded to multiple outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases (including measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and polio), tuberculosis, and parasitic diseases (including schistosomiasis, strongyloidiasis, and malaria). Through these responses, DGMQ has identified missed opportunities for prevention and documented the impact of these events, both for the receiving US communities and for the refugees themselves.

DGMQ is working to improve refugee health both overseas and domestically. Initiatives currently under way include implementing new guidelines for detecting and managing tuberculosis overseas; improving overseas surveillance for respiratory and febrile diseases; creating standard domestic refugee health guidelines for post-arrival medical screening; developing a national domestic surveillance system to capture post-arrival illness and advocating for presumptive pre-departure treatment of parasitic diseases. These activities will lead to an improved understanding of diseases that impact refugees, improved overseas pre-departure care and treatment, and potential reductions in the burden of infectious disease for refugees and their receiving US communities.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the mission of the Immigrant, Refugee and Migrant Health Branch of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; List three lessons DGMQ learned from the responses to various disease outbreaks; and Understand the mecanisms used from improving refugee health including the implementation of new guidelines, development of surveillance systems and adviocating for effective treatment.

Keywords: Human Rights, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: refugee health expert
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.