Immigrants and Asylum Seekers typically come to the U.S. after many years of living in refugee camps, urban slums or rural areas with limited access to health care, food, clean water, and basic hygiene. Many Immigrants and Asylum Seekers arrive with unmanaged, chronic health conditions, infectious diseases and/or other significant medical conditions or disabilities. Immigrants and Asylum Seekers also experience emotional trauma resulting from war, displacement, loss of loved ones and status, and often struggle with depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions. Eager to begin anew, but struggling to navigate a challenging system, Immigrant and Asylum Seekers need support accessing the health care system in Boston.
UCM’s Immigrants and Asylum Seekers health access program connects newly arrived refugees with screening and ongoing primary care. Immigrants and Asylum Seekers receiving ongoing support, through Case Managers, including escort to initial screening appointments, scheduling and escort to needed lab, radiology and specialist visit and referral to additional supports as needed.
Additionally, UCM leads the Boston Refugee Health Collaborative. Formed in September 2015, by the Ethiopian Dream Center is a regional coalition of Boston’s resettlement agencies and Immigrants and Asylum Seekers health providers. BRHC’s core mission is to create an equitable system of health carefor Immigrant and Asylum Seekers in Boston that ensures a consistently high standard of care for all Immigrants and Asylum Seekers. The Collaborative has the capacity to provide domestic health screenings, primary care and access to laboratory, radiology and subspecialty services to newly arrived Immigrants and Asylum Seekers.
UCM has also developed effective systems beyond the screening, providing Immigrants and Asylum Seekers with an orientation to health systems; coordination, scheduling and escorting to follow-up testing and initial specialist appointments; referrals or escorting to eye, dental and WIC (Supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children) appointments; medical support services for those with significant needs; and day-to-day assistance with medical queries.
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