Online Program

Strategies for building non-governmental infrastructure to meet refugee health needs

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Lisa Sockabasin, RN, Office of Health Equity, Maine CDC, Augusta, ME
Christine Lyman, MSW, CHES, Office of Health Equity, Maine CDC, Augusta, ME
Kathleen E. Perkins, MPA, MCD Public Health, Medical Care Development, Augusta, ME
Fatuma Hussein, United Somali Women of Maine, Lewiston, ME
Governmental public health agencies are often tasked with facilitating and supporting access to health care and preventive health education and related services for refugees within their jurisdiction. Yet for many refugees in the United States there is substantial hesitancy to trust government entities and present significant challenges to overcoming language and cultural barriers. Jurisdictions that are primary refugee resettlement areas may have disproportionately large refugee populations that can grow quickly over short periods of time. This situation is challenging for local infrastructure and service providers who must adapt to meet the unique needs of new and secondary refugee arrivals in their communities. The refugees themselves are frequently survivors of substantial trauma and are challenged to understand and negotiate the service systems in their new community. To address these challenges and meet these unique needs, governmental public health collaborates with a range of institutions and organizations. However, in communities with little to no local or county governmental public health infrastructure, the role of non-profit and ethnically-based community-based organizations is especially vital. The presenter will describe a successful collaboration between a state government public health agency, a non-governmental public health organization, and an ethnically-based community-based organization. The lessons learned and strategies used to engage the community, identify gaps in services as well as access to care, build health and social service networks, and create non-governmental infrastructure will be of interest to others, especially in low infrastructure low social capital communities who may be struggling to engage and support refugees.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe benefits of partnership among governmental and non-governmental public health organizations with ethnically-based community-based organizations Identify at least two strategies to build non-governmental infrastructure at local level to more effectively meet refugee health needs

Keyword(s): Infrastructure, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am responsible for coordinating the state contract and assuring the community-based organization staff have all of the technical assistance and tools they might need to be successful undertaking work plan items.
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.