224308 Advancing Social Justice for Immigrants and Refugees – Completing a Cultural Health Assessment

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM

Elaine Congress, MSW, DSW, LCSW , Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University, New York, NY
As a result of climate change, natural disasters, and conflict, the number of immigrants and refugees has increased dramatically in the United States, as well as around the world (UN, 2005). Public health social workers have grown increasingly concerned about the physical and mental health of these immigrants and refugees.

A cultural health assessment helps to promote understanding from a social justice perspective. This method builds upon Drachman three stage immigration model (2004) that addresses pre-migration experiences, transit stresses, the current situation of immigrants and the new culturagram (Congress, 2008) with its focus on health beliefs, access, and care, as well as discrimination and bias.

A cultural health assessment will address the following issues: First, the “push” factors (Lee, 1966) affecting emigration decisions will be identified. What physical and mental health challenges did immigrants encounter – water shortages, economic hardships, malnutrition, hunger, diseases, discrimination, or torture in their homelands? Second, transit experiences, both within their countries of origin as well as international will be explored. What physical, psychological, social deprivation and discrimination did immigrants experience while traveling to their new homes? Finally, has their physical and mental health improved or grown worst after immigration? Have they been able to access and make use of health care in their destination countries? Have they experienced discrimination and bias and how has this impacted on their health? Case examples that illustrate the use of a cultural health assessment as a means to promote social justice with diverse immigrant groups will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe physical and mental health issues that affect immigrants and refugees 2. Identify key factors of discrimination in premigration, transit and current life experiences that impact on health of immigrants 3. Analyse the impact of one of these experiences from a social justice perspective

Keywords: Immigrants, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have previously published (2 books) and presented on social justice issues and immigrants and refugees.
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.