Online Program

Community-based approaches to refugee mental health in Philadelphia

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Ellen Plumb, MD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Rickie O. Brawer, PhD, MPH, Center for Urban Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Melissa Fogg, MSW, Lutheran Children and Family Service, Rosyln, PA
Anna Escuder, BA, Jefferson Medical College, Phil
Christie Mulholland, BA, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia
Michael Cafarchio, BA, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia
James Plumb, MD, MPH, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College - Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
As refugees are forcibly, often violently, displaced from their homes, they face significant psychological, social, and cultural challenges that have a significant impact on mental health during resettlement. As part of a citywide interdisciplinary refugee mental health collaborative, we conducted a rapid mental health needs assessment with local social service, mental health, and medical providers. In partnership with Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia, we also completed a Photovoice project with refugees in order to identify key determinants of mental health among Iraqi, Burmese, and Bhutanese refugee communities in Philadelphia. Using a community-based participatory research approach, we conducted interviews and focus groups with 12 refugee health providers and completed a Photovoice project with 18 Iraqi, Burmese, and Bhutanese refugees. Three researchers independently coded the qualitative data, identified major themes, and resolved differences through discussion and consensus. The major themes identified by both provider and refugee participants were community, safety, economic concerns, culture, education, environment, employment, transportation, loss, family, and health. To date, the results the Photovoice project have been publicly exhibited to an audience of over 10,000 viewers. The results of this research are currently being used to improve refugee mental health screening, inform the development of culturally appropriate community-based mental health programming, and increase access to mental health services for refugee resettlement communities in Philadelphia. In addition, this research has also provided the foundation for innovative community-academic partnerships in which resettled refugees have a powerful voice in identifying and advocating for health issues important to their communities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an innovative community-academic partnership to improve mental health among resettled refugee populations in Philadelphia. Identify important barriers to refugee mental healthcare in Philadelphia. Describe community-based mental health programming that addresses post-resettlement isolation among refugee populations in Philadelphia. Demonstrate the utility of the Photovoice methodology in community mobilization in refugee communities. Demonstrate the use of the Photovoice methodology in clinical capacity building among refugee healthcare providers.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Community Building

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered