< Back to Search

Refugee Health Newsletter - December 2013

Published: January 16, 2014

Refugee Health Together
December 2013

Refugee Health Newsletter - Winter 2013

Happy holidays! As the new year looms, it is a time for reflection, gratitude, and planning.

In 2013, ORR and our partners converged around the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what it means for refugees; it has been an evolving discussion as we followed the patchwork of states choosing - or refusing - to expand Medicaid. Check out the map below. To help the resettlement network, we developed outreach materials about the ACA, highlighted in this newsletter.

We also worked on a number of other health-related activities this year, including hosting webinars on refugee health topics, creating women's health videos, and promoting suicide prevention. Looking forward to 2014, we intend to continue our focus on refugee health through outreach, education, policy, and partnership.

Wishing you good health,

Eskinder Negash
Office of Refugee Resettlement

Changes at ORR's Division of Refugee Health (DRH)!

In 2013, we congratulated and bid farewell to DRH Director Essey Workie who has moved on to become the ACF Regional Administrator in Region III.

Current DRH staff:
Curi Kim, Acting Director
Tim Kelly, Mental Health Specialist
Amanda Miller, Outreach & Preventive Health Specialist
Jewel Roberts, Survivors of Torture Project Officer
Jennifer Schmalz, Presidential Management Fellow
See Yang, Senior Program Analyst

Where does your state stand in expanding Medicaid?

Expanding Medicaid mapNovember 6, 2013

ACA Resources Available for Refugees

All of the following resources are available on ORR's Division of Refugee Health website.

YouTube Video
ORR is excited to share a short YouTube video, Refugees and the Affordable Care Act, available in six languages: Somali, Karen, Nepali, Arabic, Kinyarwanda, and English. The video can easily be shared with refugees in person or online.
The goal of the video is to educate refugees about the importance of health insurance and primary care, the different types of health coverage available in the U.S., and new health insurance options available through the ACA. The video was developed in collaboration with the refugee community and features refugees and health care providers.


Refugees and the Affordable Care Act YouTube banner

Watch Now

ACA Factsheet
ORR also created a fact sheet to explain which immigration statuses qualify for Marketplace coverage, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Plan. Knowing about eligible immigration status can help you with your ACA outreach and enrollment activities.

Translated Marketplace Applications
ORR collaborated with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to translate the Marketplace consumer application into a variety of languages relevant to refugees. These translations can serve as training tools for completing the application.

Another ACA Resource:
Finding Local Help

CMS has a new online "Local Help" function for in-person enrollment assistance with the Health Insurance Marketplace at LocalHelp.healthcare.gov (or ayudalocal.cuidadodesalud.gov in Spanish).

Users can input their geographic location to identify local consumer assisters, including Navigator grantees, Certified Application Counselors, state Medicaid and CHIP agencies, and others who are trained to provide in-person assistance to consumers and small businesses. As many organizations are still completing the training and certification process, the database will be regularly updated.

The tool also allows users to refine results for providers that offer non-English language support. The information can be easily accessed on tablets and smartphones.

CMS encourages you to share this new resource with others and thanks you for your work to raise awareness about the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Please contact partner@cms.hhs.gov if you need technical assistance.

Technical Assistance Available for Developing Refugee Mental Health Services

The National Partnership for Community Training (NCPT) is available to assist refugee and mainstream providers, in communities that do not have a torture treatment program, to develop a system of mental health care for newly arrived refugees. NCPT recently worked with Church World Service and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work on a project to develop a mental health screening process for early detection of emotional distress among refugees.

Depending on the level of distress and mental health needs, individuals are referred to peer support groups, individual therapy, family therapy, or community-based psychiatric care. In addition to NCPT, Pathways to Wellness at Lutheran Community Services Northwest is providing consultation on the use of the screening tool, Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15). For the peer support groups, the project is utilizing curriculum from both Pathways to Wellness and the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.

If you are interested in developing a mental health system of care for refugees, contact NCPT, a program of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, at partnership@gcjfcs.org or (727) 450-7274 and inquire about their technical assistance services.

FBI Outreach to Refugees about Human Rights

The FBI investigates serious human rights violations to ensure perpetrators within the U.S. or with U.S. status abroad face justice for their crimes.

In order to find perpetrators who may blend into communities by posing among innocent refugee populations, the FBI needs the assistance of diaspora community members. However, refugees are never obligated to answer FBI questions and may remain anonymous if they choose to speak to the FBI.

Refugees have often faced incredible hardships to find safety here, and the FBI wants to ensure those responsible for suffering can never find safe haven in the U.S.

Upcoming Training Opportunities


ACF Region VIII Federal Partners is launching their 2014 Webinar Series: Improving the Mental and Emotional Well-Being of Communities through the National Prevention Strategy. Each webinar in this series highlights ways Federal agencies are working with communities to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life - physically and mentally. Topics include trauma-informed care, mental health, and suicide prevention. Registration for each webinar will open one month prior to each event.

Check out the new website for ORR's Division of Refugee Health!

Your Voice
ORR wants to hear from you! We are looking for health-related stories written from the refugee perspective to include in future editions of our newsletter. Send your ideas for stories or drafts to Amanda Miller.

What's Working?
What programs or initiatives are having a positive impact on the resettlement community? Highlight your successes in Refugee Health Together! Contact Amanda Miller with story ideas.

Somali Refugee Women's Health Videos now available
ORR is pleased to present a 4-part YouTube video series on women's health aimed at Somali refugee women. Topics include reproductive health, cancer screenings, pregnancy, and more.

Somali Refugee Women's Health VideoWatch now

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline logoNo matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime.

Learn more here





Last Reviewed: May 9, 2018