Strategies and Techniques for Domestic Health Orientation

Techniques and content of domestic health orientations can be tailored to fit the needs of refugee audiences. 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 strategies help adult refugees learn and use information from domestic health orientation? What teaching styles work well with refugees? What strategies would you recommend for refugees who are not literate? What strategies would you recommend for health orientations where refugees of various languages and cultures learn together? Leave a comment below.

14 thoughts on “Strategies and Techniques for Domestic Health Orientation

  1. Angela

    We are using physicians who are in their residency training years to conduct the health orientation sessions. Due to limited time, we have chosen thus far to focus on health insurance, accessing health care (the differences between PCP, ER, urgent care, pharmacy, specialists, etc…), and women’s health. The residents work closely with translators and staff at the resettlement agency.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:46 am
    • Paul Geltman

      Angela, I’m wondering if you find that the residents have sufficient knowledge on some of these topics and how they apply to refugees? For example, eligibility for medicaid.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm
      • Angela

        Our residents are Preventive Medicine residents, so they already have an interest in serving such a population. We also have the residents see patients in our Refugee Health Clinic. However, it did take some extra effort from the residents for them to learn about specific details of refugee issues. But it was not too time consuming and it the residents like learning about these ‘bigger’ issues affecting the refugees, other than their specific medical condition.

        January 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm
        • Judith

          Angela, I would like to know if and how the process of a PCP referring the patient to a specialist is explained in the orientation sessions. Is the idea of insurance participation/authorization discussed?

          April 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm
    • Sr. Mary Duddey

      When do you do this?

      January 21, 2012 at 11:02 am
      • Angela

        We worked with the residents’ schedules & found a time that worked for most. We have one talk per week lasting 1.5 hours.

        January 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm
  2. Webinar Participant

    We recruit student volunteers to accompany recent arrivals to their first medical appointments to help them navigate the appointment. Has anyone done something similar to orient recently arrived refugees into the health care system here?

    January 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm
  3. mchiang

    In our area, our program has found that health orientation provided directly by community health workers (CHWs) has been an effective and supportive way to educate and empower refugees around domestic health issues and health care services. Our CHWs are bi-cultural and bi-lingual, many from refugee community themselves. For this reason, our CHWs are particularly well-received by refugees in a way in which traditional, printed materials often might not be. Additionally, our CHWs receive training so that they may develop expertise in healthcare, health issues and health related resources locally.

    To the extent possibly, all health orientation and education are delivered in home visit settings by the CHWs. This creates a level of comfort and accessibility for newly arrived refugees. Such a strategy also facilitates the process of CHWs becoming part of the refugee community itself. Often our CHWs are viewed as leaders by the community, and allowing them to become key informants that provide feedback into and influence our local, mainstream healthcare providers that work with refugees.

    January 10, 2012 at 8:39 am
    • Christine Ross

      The idea of CHWs is a great one, first of all Majority of the refugees were being taught by CHWs in the various camps that they came from, and the set up of CHW where the individuals are from the very community that they serves, creats some kind of trust and make explaining health problems or even educating them more easy. I would like to set up a CHWs here in Omaha, I need help. I believe it would work very well.

      January 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm
      • mchiang

        Hi Christine, Perhaps we can have a more in depth conversation to discuss various models of CHW and outreach. It is a resource heavy strategy, but as you alluded, in many ways, it is an investment in prevention and education that really pays off in the long run.

        January 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm
        • Elizabeth

          I am very interested in the CHW program. How is it funded? How are the chw’s trained, through the local hospital or through a community college setting?

          January 26, 2012 at 9:33 am
    • Natasha Curtis

      Here in Akron, OH, we are exploring the possibility of implementing a CHW program. I’d love to connect with you regarding this issue. Please let me know how we can connect. You may e-mail me at las(a)

      January 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm
    • Sr. Mary Duddey

      This is a great idea! Sorry I am not familiar with “CHW” ? Who are they, Staff, etc. Do you take interpreters with you? Please give more infornmation. Thanks

      January 21, 2012 at 11:06 am
      • mchiang

        CHW stands for community health worker. In our program, CHW staffing is mixed, with some full time, others part time. Our priority is also to hire CHWs who speak refugee langauages, many come from refugee communities, along with other qualifications as laid out in the job description. Regardless there are still instances in which language is a barrier to communication.

        January 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm