Online Program

Health among resettling elderly refugees in east Tennessee: Implications for health interventions and policy

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fletcher Njororai, PhD, MCHES, Department of Health and Kinesiology, University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX
Purpose: An exploratory study assessing health disparities among Burundian refugees within 6 years of arrival in the US resettling in Knoxville, a small mid-southern rural city. Older refugees are particularly vulnerable to poverty, abuse, neglect or exploitation, depression, chronic health and emotional problems stemming from: the conditions of refugee flight, family loss and separation, an inability to advocate for themselves because of cultural, language, or educational barriers; limited access to appropriate health and social service agencies. Methods and Data: A mixed method research design was used for data collection. A convenient sample of fifty adults recently resettled (n=50) participated in the study between September 2011 to May 2012. Structured interviews were administered with question items for quantitative data; and open-ended questions for qualitative data; items elicited information on pre-immigration and migration experiences, initial resettlement experiences, size and content of refugee social networks; and accessing resources for resettlement, health and well-being. Findings: Descriptive statistics, correlations and independent samples t-tests were run. Mean age was 44 years, ranging from 20 -78 years and the elderly, age ³ 50 were 17 (34%). As age increased, overall connectedness decreased (r= -.287,r =. 246); English speaking was significant to overall connectedness (Yes = 3.27, No = 2.93,r = .013); 36 (72%) were in good and 14 (28%) were fair or poor health. Conclusions: Identifying health protective and risk factors within the context of refugee resettlement by health professionals and policy makers is crucial to the health outcomes and overall health status of resettling elderly refugees.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how initial resettlement experiences impact the health outcomes and overall health of the aging refugees.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal investigator on this study working with Burundian refugees resettling in Knoxville Tennessee. I carried out the research in this population as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. This was part of a larger policy study I received funding for as seed money from The University of Tennessee Center for Health Policy and Services Research.
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.