New Routes to Community Health

An RWJF National Program

Dates of Program: 2006 to 2011

Field of Work: Immigration and refugee media projects to address health and health care issues

Problem Synopsis: Immigrants and refugees often struggle to obtain the health care they need because of cultural and language barriers. One of the key ways they can get information about health issues is through media, but the media must be culturally and linguistically relevant to immigrants and refugees.

Synopsis of the Work: New Routes to Community Health brought together immigrant-led groups, local media organizations, and community institutions in eight cities to use storytelling and media making to address the health concerns of immigrants and refugees.

Key Results

  • Immigrant groups, media makers and community institutions worked together to produce original media content in immigrants' first languages including Amharic, Chinese, Creole, French, Lao, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese. The sites created a wide range of media, including television and radio features, telenovelas, first-person narratives, live theater, print materials, and social marketing campaigns.

    The program also developed leaders who advocated for the needs of their community on a local, state, and national basis. In addition, the sites created media projects that addressed the often rarely discussed topic of mental health in immigrant and refugee communities.