Media Advisory: UB to host Refugee Health Summit this Saturday

Release Date: March 30, 2016 This content is archived.

Issam Smeir at the podium.

Issam Smeir, a native of Jordan and a counselor who specializes in trauma treatment for refugees, victims of torture and severely abused and neglected children, is the keynote speaker for UB's third annual Refugee Health Summit.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo will host its third annual Refugee Health Summit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, at the Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Center, 555 Ellicott St., Buffalo.

Media are invited to attend. For press arrangements before Saturday, contact David Hill in the UB Office of Communication, 716-645-4651. On-site contact is Pavani Ram, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health, 716-829-5380.

This year’s presenter is Issam Smeir, a native of Jordan who, in his role with World Relief, works directly with refugees from 23 countries and trains World Relief staff in areas of trauma and cultural competency.

Smeir also offers supervision to psychotherapists and psychiatrists in “Arab Spring” countries through clinical consulting with the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims based in Copenhagen, Denmark. His keynote address is titled “Battling on two fronts: Trauma and cultural adjustment.”

The event is open to the public. Participants are asked to register. Approximately 130 people have registered to attend.

The morning session is free and will feature local refugee health program and project updates, Smeir’s keynote address and a panel session on trauma and cultural competency in Buffalo.

The afternoon session costs $10 and will include a training session, led by Smeir, on conflict and peacemaking across cultures. Smeir will help participants understand cultural differences in handling conflict and steps to take when experiencing conflict across cultures.

This year’s summit focuses on trauma-informed, culturally engaged care.

“Participants can learn about the ways in which individuals work through trauma and cultural adjustment, how that can affect their physical and mental health, and how practitioners, clinicians and social service providers can provide the support and care that is needed,” said Jessica Scates, a co-organizer of the event with Kim Griswold, MD, MPH, who holds faculty appointments in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Scates serves as administrative coordinator to the UB Community for Global Health Equity, a co-sponsor of the event along with the School of Public Health and Health Professions’ Office of Global Health Initiatives.

In addition to UB, several local agencies and organizations will be represented, including area health clinics, hospital systems, social services, Erie County, resettlement agencies, refugee communities and community support centers.

The summit was created three years ago to help identify barriers and explore solutions to culturally engaged health care for refugee populations in Buffalo.

Media Contact Information

David J. Hill
Director of Media Relations
Public Health, Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, Sustainability
Tel: 716-645-4651