12:02pm

Tue June 24, 2014
Refugee Health

National refugee health conference focuses on dealing with trauma, empowering communities

Health care providers from across the United States and Canada and overseas came together in western New York to discuss the most effective approaches to treating refugee populations, many of whom have experienced significant trauma fleeing from conflict zones.

There are between four and five million refugees in the U.S. and their experiences often result in unique health needs.

The 2014 North American Refugee Health Conference brought together practitioners, researchers, navigators and community members under the auspices of the Rochester Academy of Medicine and Rochester General Hospital.

The WXXI Innovation Trail's Michelle Faust and Matthew Leonard spoke with some of the attendees.

Crista Johnson-Agbakwu is the Director of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic at Maricopa Integrated Health System, located in Phoenix, Arizona. Doctor Johnson-Agbakwu has expertise in reproductive health disparities among refugee and immigrant communities. She gave the keynote address at the conference on Thursday.
Hussam Jefee-Bahloul was born and raised in Syria and studied medicine there before arriving in the US in 2008 to do a residency in psychiatry. He’s currently a Clinical Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. Jefee-Bahloul presented about how he uses technology to help refugees from his country of origin.
Dr. Kathleen Connors is the executive director of Georgia Refugee Health and Mental Health based in Atlanta. During day one of the conference, Connors discussed the lessons she learned running a Navigator organization that helped enroll mostly refugee communities.

Paul Boyle, is of Irish/Scots descent but now lives with his family in Kenya. He’s a trainer and trauma therapist who, after a long period of time working in refugee camps is using his experience to support and empower care providers.