Resources and Tools for Domestic Health Orientation

Resources reinforce learning and provide additional information on the U.S. health care system to refugees receiving domestic health orientation. Continue the dialogue from the December 5, 2011 webinar, Refugee Health Orientation Continuum: Overseas and Domestic Perspectives, co-sponsored by Cultural Orientation Resource Center, Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and RHTAC.

What resources (videos, activities, websites, fact sheets, etc.) are you using for refugee domestic health orientation? Are these resources available at no-cost? Are these resources available in languages other than English? Leave your comments below.

13 thoughts on “Resources and Tools for Domestic Health Orientation

  1. Catherine Dickson

    We are having issues obtaining resources of illiterate clients who need help remembering the dosage and times for their prescriptions. Does anybody have any solutions that have worked for them? Or know of any resources available, such as stickers or pictures to place on the prescription bottles? Thank you.

    February 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm
    • Paul Geltman

      How to improve comprehension of and adherence with medication instructions for individuals who are not literate in English is a never-ending challenge. Really, only a licensed medical provider or pharmacist should be labelling medication bottles for patients. However, a variety of strategies have been tried to reduce errors, but most have been frought with problems. In one study, use of simplified labeling with specific medication schedules has been promising, but huge regulatory and pragmatic hurdles would need to be overcome to introduce such a systematic change at the pharmacy level. See the study by Shrank WH, et al., in Contemp Clin Trials. 2010 Nov;31(6):564-71. Epub 2010 Jul 18. At a less formal level, a common strategy to help people keep track of their medications and doses has been to use calendars and pictures of rising/setting suns, moons, etc… to signify times of day for dosing medication, but even this can be confusing. The “pill card” is an example. See
      I hope this is helpful.
      Paul Geltman, MD, MPH
      Medical Director, RIHP and RHTAC, Mass. Dept. of Public Health

      March 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm
      • Catherine Dickson

        Dr. Geltman,
        Thank you for the pill card example and link to instructions and template. I hope my organization will be able to utilize this in the near future.

        Thank you,
        Catherine Dickson
        Case Management Coordinator
        Catholic Charities San Antonio

        March 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm
  2. Sanja Bebic

    The Cultural Orientation Resource Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics hosts a variety of general health-related orientation materials on its website, The health section of the Overseas Service Provider toolkit ( is comprised of lesson plans used by different Resettlement Support Centers in overseas orientation. While designed for pre-arrival use to give refugees initial exposure to basic U.S. concepts and systems regarding health, these lesson plans are very relevant in the domestic context as well. In addition, the health section of the Domestic Service Provider toolkit ( includes resources developed by national or local resettlement agencies in response to identified needs, such as providing information on nutrition, working with a refugee to make their own doctor’s appointment, and so on.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm
  3. Sarah Russell

    Ohio is happy to share copies of our DVD, “Safe, Smart & Healthy: Keys to Success in Your New Home.” It is available in 34 languages with chapters on: Medical Care & Health Insurance, Family Issues & Domestic Violence, Medications & Home Remedies, Personal Hygiene, Substance Use/Abuse, Food Safety & Housekeeping. If you have any questions about developing the DVD just let me know.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:39 am
    • Nancy Swyers

      Sounds good how do I get a copy(copies) of the DVD?

      January 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm
    • Mohamed Ali

      As a multi-ethnic refugee community association in the State of Idaho we are looking and interested to have one for any Medical Care or Health Awarness film, DVD or in CD. So please Sarah how can get a copy of the DVD you have. We would like English, French, Somali & Arabic.
      Please Let me know.
      Thank You

      January 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm
  4. Lauren Swain

    Ethnomed has recently posted our multilingual refugee health orientation videos, produced for the Refugee Preventive Health Program of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment This program teaches newcomer refugees how to properly access medical care, get immunizations, use medications, and live a healthy lifestyle, among many other topics. Although some of the information provided is specific to Colorado, most of the material can be of value to immigrants and refugees nationwide.

    View them at

    Please feel free to email me if you would like to receive a detailed outline of the content of this video.
    I am interested in any feedback you may have.

    Lauren Swain

    January 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm
  5. Kyi-Sin Than

    I came across this radio show HEARMe (Health Education via Airwaves for Refugees) from Atlanta, GA, led by former African refugees. The show is very popular and it now broadcasts in Somali, Swahili, Amharic, and Bhutanese. HEARMe provides radio shows on important topics such as H1N1, Hep-B but it is not only limited to health conditions; it also offers shows like “life as a teenage refugee in the U.S.” What makes this project possible and impressive is the partnership between the community, a local university (Emory University), and WRFG 89.3 FM Atlanta, local radio station. The community leaders provide an influential voice on the show with help from Emory University students and faculty, made possible with technical support from WRFG.

    Radio shows could be great ways to deliver health education (if the local infrastructure supports it) since literacy among refugees varies. And radio drama makes health education exciting and accessible to refugees from all backgrounds and levels of education.

    This innovative approach has great potential for cities or towns with large refugee communities!

    If you would like to learn more, visit their website –

    January 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm
  6. Mary Alice Gillispie

    Healthy Roads Media ( is a web-based multilingual health education resource that focuses on hard to reach groups with a focus on refugees. There are free materials in written, audio and video formats in many languages and topics. A number of the topics are relevant to refugee health orientation. We worked with the Minnesota Dept of Health to adapt part of the refugee health guide mentioned in the previous message.
    Also, Ohio has developed a fantastic DVD called Safe, Smart and Healthy that focuses on refugee health orientation. This DVD was done in many languages. Sarah Russell, the Ohio state refugee health coordinator, contacted Healthy Roads Media to see if we might be able to adapt the DVD content into web resources to make it accessible to more people. We have been able to adapt the English version of the DVD and are seeking funding to work in more languages. We are also working to develop a mobile optimized website and have posted the English language Safe Smart and Healthy content there ( Any feedback about these materials is very helpful in guiding the work so that it is as useful as possible.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm
  7. Christine Ross

    Refugee health liaison in my organization is a brand new position, and I am excited to jump in and educate the refugees more about preventative measures. Being a refugee myself I know what I wish was done for us right away. We right now don’t have any resources at our disposal. What are the resources out there to be utilized by people like me?

    January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm