240406 Community partnerships to improve health care access and wellness for Burmese refugees

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:18 PM

Joan Jeung, MD, MS , Asian Health Services/Frank Kiang Medical Center, Oakland
Kwee Say , Nutritional Biochemistry (undergrate, BS expected 2011), University of California, Davis, Manteca, CA
Russell Jeung, PhD , Department of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Since 2007, refugees from Burma have been resettling into low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area with limited assistance, and are thus at high risk for slipping through the cracks of the health care and social service systems. To understand and meet the needs of this emerging community, a partnership has developed between multiple non-profit, public health, and academic organizations to understand needs as well as to advocate for improved health care and educational services. Public health nursing has partnered with local clinics, non-profit organizations, Burmese community leaders, and San Francisco State University's Department of Asian American Studies to organize several health fairs and needs assessments for the local Burmese community as well as other emerging refugee/immigrant groups (such as the Bhutanese, Tibetans, and Mongolians). At several health fairs, uninsured refugees were able to get free basic health screenings (blood pressure, body mass index, dental, vision, and blood glucose screening as well as consultation with medical doctors). Simultaneously, needs assessment surveys were conducted and health education seminars held on various health and wellness topics. Based on needs assessment data, this partnership has advocated for improved interpretation services in county and community-based clinics; increased availability of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adult refugees; as well as gardening programs to help promote wellness. By mobilizing physicians, nurses, social workers, refugees, and university students, this multi-agency partnership has been able to help improve access to health care and other programs important for economic stability and wellness.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how partnerships developed between multiple community-based organizations, clinics, public health nurses, and academic centers to assess needs among Burmese refugees and to advocate for services and policy changes 2. Explain findings from several recent needs assessments of Burmese refugees, including demographics, major needs/issues, and barriers to health care access 3 Explain how needs assessment findings and advocacy led to changes in health care access and quality for Burmese refugees in Oakland, California 4. Describe ongoing collaboration between multiple nonprofit agencies and clinics to continue improving health care access/quality and wellness for recently arrived refugees from Burma

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a pediatrician working at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving mostly Asian immigrants and refugees, including refugees from Burma. I have volunteered extensively with Southeast Asian refugees outside of work, most recently, helping to organize several health fairs and needs assessments for recently arrived immigrants and refugees from Burma, Bhutan/Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, and Mongolia, in collaboration with multiple other county and community-based organizations serving 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.