UB - Community Connections to Improve Refugee Health and Wellbeing

Co-sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, Office of Global Health Initiatives and the Community for Global Health Equity

2017 Refugee Health Summit.

The Annual Western New York (WNY) Refugee Health Summit unites clinicians, resettlement representatives, community health workers, researchers, students, municipal leaders, and refugees to highlight innovative university-community partnerships that have resulted in research, programming, and solutions to improve health and wellbeing for refugees living in Buffalo and Western New York.

RHS flyer.

8th Annual Refugee Health Summit - Saturday, September 10th, 2022

A coalition of community leaders and researchers in Buffalo, NY invites you to the 8th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit. To thrive as individuals and members of society, youth need to be viewed as whole beings by their families, communities, and institutions. To promote a whole-person approach for optimal youth development in Western New York, the 8th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit highlights the spirit and adaptability of youth who arrived as refugees. The event will address challenges and responses to a variety of issues that youth face, including mental health challenges, cultural barriers between older and younger generations, difficulty navigating higher education, and accessing culturally appropriate care. 

Having fled war and persecution, Buffalo’s population of people that arrived as refugees are revitalizing and diversifying Buffalo, yet challenges remain for both Buffalo and its newest residents. In this context, youth face unique challenges as they navigate different cultures and environments, growing up in a different society from their parents. A whole-person approach to health for refugee youth addresses more than physical health, extending to mental health, education, employment, societal engagement, and more. A variety of programs exist in Buffalo to support refugee youth, which will be highlighted at the Summit. 

The Summit, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Saturday September 10th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Co-produced by community and university partners, the summit creates a space for conversation among refugee communities, clinicians, resettlement agencies, community health workers, educators, researchers, students, and municipal leaders. The event will consist of three panels focused on new American contributions to the workforce, a cultural humility training for healthcare providers, and a youth-designed session. Panels will be followed by a workshop to identify actionable changes in Buffalo and Western New York.

Organizers include leaders from the refugee community, representatives from Burmese Community Services and the Karen Society of Buffalo, representatives from the Community for Global Health Equity, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, School of Architecture and Planning, School of Public Health and Health Professions, the Human Rights Initiative at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and the Immigrant and Refugee Research Institute at the School of Social Work. 

Register for the event here. Registration closes August 31st. 

For more information, to table at the event, or to be involved with planning, contact Alex Judelsohn at ajudelso@buffalo.edu. More information, including an agenda, is forthcoming. 

The annual WNY Refugee Health Summit is co-sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity, School of Architecture and Planning, School of Public Health and Health Professions’ Office of Global Health Initiatives, Providence Farm Collective, Grassroots Gardens of Western New York, and HEAL International. 

New American and Refugee Health Summit Speakers

Speakers at the 8th Annual Refugee Health Summit bring a variety of experiences and interdisciplinary expertise. Panelists include community leaders, service providers, educators, and researchers and scholars. More speakers will be added to this list over the coming weeks. 

Dilli Gautam

Dilli Gautam is a former refugee from Bhutan who immigrated to the US in 2008. Dilli serves as the President of the Bhutanese Community of Michigan, a non-profit organization that was started by and continues to be operated by resettled Bhutanese refugees. He also works as the Associate Director of Community Engagement at Bethany Christian Services, a resettlement agency based in Grand Rapids. He has an extensive background working with refugee and immigrant communities, leaders, and local elected officials and is passionate about building the capacity of refugee-focused organizations and new American leaders. In an effort to increase former refugees in leadership positions, Dilli helps to better equip and connect them to not only achieve their personal success, but contribute to the greater community. He believes that one of the best ways for the meaningful integration of refugees and immigrants into society is by changing the policies, practices, and mindset from helping refugees and immigrants to empowering them. He holds a Master’s in Public Health from Eastern Washington University with graduate research focused on mental health among immigrant youth.

Previous Summits

WNY Refugee Health Summit in the News