In 2016, more than 3,344 refugees resettled to North Carolina, representing diverse cultural backgrounds, languages, experiences, and needs. While many state-supported services are available upon arrival, few are sustained beyond the first six months. Long-term, community-based support for refugee communities is often patchwork at best, leading to significant gaps in access to critical health and social services.
Raha Khademi (MIDP Candidate ’18) and DCID associate in research Tom Nicholson (MIDP ‘14) are hoping to change that for refugee families in the region.
On November 20, 2017, their proposed project, an initiative addressing health and wellness among refugee communities in the Triangle area, was awarded the competitive Kenan Biddle Partnership grant.The Kenan Biddle Partnership is funded by the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust and the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation to promote collaboration between students at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to solve social or environmental issues.
“Bearing the burden of being refugee can often mean being isolated, marginalized, and impoverished. This project will support refugee families by providing a comprehensive resource map that can help refugees to become self-sufficient in utilizing available health and social services” – Raha Khademi
Expanding upon her summer internship with Advance Access & Delivery, Khademi will work closely with Meagan Clawar, a Masters of Science in Public Health candidate at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health to strengthen the role and expand the reach of community resource liaisons both in the Triad and Triangle areas. In collaboration with the Refugee Community Partnership (RCP) in Carrboro and the Center for New North Carolinians in Greensboro, Khademi and Clawar will use community-identified priorities to support existing programs of accompaniment for refugee families and individuals in Orange and Durham Counties. Their project, “Available or Accessible? Living in the Shadow of the Cities of Medicine,” will be used to develop an open-source training manual and an updatable, user-friendly service map that can be shared widely to promote the highest quality of service provision to communities in need.
Nicholson says, “by focusing in on what the families identify as the most important services, we can raise the standards for service delivery to these families in the Triangle. Laying a foundation for a healthy, successful transition into the community is an important priority for partners across Duke and UNC.”