Media Advisory: UB Refugee Health Summit to address barriers to care

Release Date: April 7, 2015 This content is archived.

Erie County resettles the highest number of refugees in New York State.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP) will hold the second annual Western New York Refugee Health Summit on Thursday, April 9 in the UB Educational Opportunity Center, 555 Ellicott St., Buffalo, from noon to 5 p.m.

Called “Community conversations to build pathways toward culturally engaged health care in Buffalo,” the health summit is being held as part of the SPHHP’s celebration of National Public Health Week.

Media are invited to attend. For press arrangements, contact Ellen Goldbaum at 716-645-4605.

Erie County resettles the highest number of refugees in New York State; approximately one third of the state’s 3,700 refugees resettled in Buffalo in 2013. Many arrive in the U.S. driven from their home countries by social and political upheaval, war, and economic or agricultural distress. Even with committed organizations assisting refugees, many barriers exist to obtaining culturally-engaged health care.

The summit will provide a forum where health care providers and refugees can meet and discuss ways to overcome the five main barriers to care that refugees face: coordinating stakeholders, mentoring of providers, mobilizing community leaders, dealing with language barriers and addressing gaps in providing care.

Participants also will review an online platform that is being developed to better share and coordinate Western New York health resources for refugees.

Speakers and discussion leaders are faculty, staff and students from the SPHHP and throughout UB, including:

  • Pavani Ram, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, director of the school’s Office of Global Health Initiatives and a medical epidemiologist who works throughout the developing world to find innovative ways to improve child survival and health;
  • Kim Griswold, MD, associate professor of family medicine and psychiatry in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and of Epidemiology and Environmental Health in the SPHHP and medical director of the Western New York Center for Survivors of Trauma; and
  • Isok Kim, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, who is partnering with the Burmese Community Support Center to assess the mental health needs of Buffalo’s Burmese population.

The summit is being sponsored by the Office of Global Health Initiatives in the SPHHP.

More than 150 people have registered to attend including leaders in public policy and higher education and from resettlement agencies, clinics, insurance companies, and refugee communities.

Participating community agency partners include the Burmese Community Support Center, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Neighborhood Health Center, H.E.A.L. International, Jericho Road Community Health Center, International Institute of Buffalo, Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc., Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Jewish Family Services of Buffalo and Erie County, and the UB Schools of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Public Health and Health Professions, and Social Work.

The mission of the SPHHP’s Office of Global Health Initiatives (OGHI) is to identify, engage in and advance innovative and sustainable solutions to significant global health problems. OGHI achieves its mission through collaborative, interprofessional approaches to teaching, research and service for populations and individuals. Arthur R. Goshin, BS ’66, MD ’70, MPH, founded the Office of Global Health Initiatives and has a 40-year career in public health and in the development and management of large health care organizations. To learn more about OGHI, visit

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
News Content Manager
Tel: 716-645-4605