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Global Innovation Challenge: 2017

Develop solutions to improve health and wellbeing for refugees in Buffalo

May 22-26, 2017

learn about the life experiences and challenges of refugees
partner with faculty experts and local professionals
advance your problem-solving and collaboration skills
compete for funding to further your ideas

Formal Registration is now open:

We look forward to your participation in this highly creative and energetic week-long workshop! Your registration includes breakfast and lunch, team-building activities, interaction with expert stakeholders from UB and the community, and a chance to win funding to support further development of your ideas. Your participation requires you be present during the entirety of the workshop, Monday-Friday, May 22-26 from 8am-5pm. Registration options include:

1-credit course: END 395 for undergraduates OR URP 586 for graduate students. Dr. Korydon Smith is the professor of record.

Fee-based workshop: $100 fee for UB students, $200 fee for non-UB students.

Questions about the Global Innovation Challenge or financial assistance can be directed to Jessica Scates (

Some Background and Additional Information

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.

The Challenge:

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, Climatalk, 2005, Modified

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.

This one-week workshop is open to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from all majors: anthropology to architecture, English to engineering, media to management, political science to public health, sociology to social work. Participants will engage in team-building activities, and work with local stakeholders and UB faculty to develop social, technological, business, educational, and policy innovations that improve access to health services for refugees in Buffalo.

A peek at last year's Global Innovation Challenge