UB will host its fifth annual WNY Refugee Health Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at the Educational Opportunity Center, 555 Ellicott St., Buffalo.
The summit unites 150 clinicians, resettlement caseworkers, community health workers, researchers, students, municipal leaders and refugees to understand the many factors affecting health and well-being for refugee populations in Buffalo. These factors include access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services, efficient clinic and transportation systems and operations, and available economic opportunities.
Home to a booming manufacturing center with available jobs, an abundant and inexpensive housing market, low health care costs, and what was once the largest transshipment port in the world, the City of Good Neighbors has welcomed new arrivals to the country for hundreds of years. Buffalo has a unique history — as far back as the mid-1800s — of welcoming communities that are escaping famine, war and political strife.
Today, Erie County resettles the highest number of refugees in New York State, which is the third-highest resettlement state in the U.S. after California and Texas. Buffalo’s new Americans are contributing to a housing boom and economic development, according to a report published last year by New American Economy. However, they are living amidst great uncertainty. The reduction to the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. during 2017 has split families apart. Increases in gun violence are re-traumatizing communities escaping violence and fear, while hate crimes and bias are on the rise.
Buffalo’s care providers — clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and lawyers, among others — must deliver appropriate care to populations representing numerous religions, cultural and ethnic traditions, and languages. Provision of culturally appropriate care for diverse patients takes much time and resources. Funding cuts, inadequate professional and pre-professional training, and a constant lack of time complicates providers’ abilities to deliver appropriate and inclusive care and services.
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