The world is amidst the largest humanitarian refugee crisis since WWII. This affects not only refugee populations and the nations that border conflict areas but cities and countries around the world. For example, approximately 1,500 refugees arrive in Buffalo each year – making it one of the top resettlement sites in the U.S.
Refugees face many challenges upon arrival to a new country. In addition to housing, education, and employment, obtaining quality health services is a major problem. Refugees may have undiagnosed diseases as well as experienced physical torture or psychological trauma. Moreover, refugees, including children, often experience long periods of time without preventative health care, in part due to extended stays in refugee camps prior to arriving in the U.S. (17 years on average), but also due to the gap between the American “culture of health care” and refugees’ home culture of care. While language is, perhaps, the greatest obstacle to healthcare for refugee populations, many other barriers exist.
Develop strategies that bridge the gap between Western and non-Western “cultures of care” in order to improve the continuity of care, which, in turn, improve health and wellness among refugees in Buffalo.
Refugees are generally resettled to nations with economic opportunities and health resources which are vast in comparison to that of refugee camps. Whether they are fully able to utilize the resources available to them upon resettlement is uncertain.
-Meghan Morris, et al.