Case Study: Optimizing Wellness in a Refugee Population

The resettlement of refugees to the United States is a process that can take months or even years. In one city, community leaders formed an interprofessional, multidisciplinary community coalition with an identified goal of forming a Refugee Healthcare Program to treat the unique needs of the immigrant and refugee populations living there. Approximately 10% of the city’s residents are refugees with needs that include inadequate past medical and dental care, exposure to untreated diseases, and experiences that include torture and terrorism.

The Refugee Healthcare Program is being formed with shared resources from many partners, including the area’s primary refugee resettlement agency, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Public Health. The Refugee Healthcare Program is being designed to provide primary healthcare services in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way, including the use of “cultural health navigators.” These cultural health navigators will be drawn from resettled refugees who work with the interprofessional team to offer interpretation and promote care coordination. Services will be provided in two ways: at a storefront clinic location in the downtown area and, remotely, via a mobile health van visiting schools, retirement communities, shelters, and public housing complexes.


Discussion Questions

  1. List the professionals in health care and other fields whom you would expect to be members of the interprofessional and multidisciplinary community coalition mentioned in this case study who are planning the Refugee Healthcare Program. Identify the specific needs of the refugee population that each professional would be expected to address.
  2. Describe at least two distinct healthcare services that might be offered through the Refugee Healthcare Program (i.e., mental health, well-child care, women’s health, dental), and identify which members of the interprofessional team might collaborate to provide those services comprehensively.
  3. What do you see as the specific roles and responsibilities of “cultural health navigators”?
  4. Describe the anticipated effects of the “cultural health navigators” on patient outcomes and on the cultural competency of those professionals in health care and other fields who are associated with the Refugee Healthcare Program.

Case Study: Optimizing Wellness in a Refugee Population

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *