October 2009

Grant Results


In 2003 and 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded two meetings convened by the Center for Public Service Communications (CPSC), which led to the creation of the Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN®) and the April 2007 launch of its Web site (see Grant Results on ID#s 048340 and 053555). RHIN is a national collaborative partnership offering public health resources to those who provide care to the diverse refugee population in the United States.

While refugees are entitled to a health assessment within the first three months after entering the United States, not all states have refugee health programs and communities have struggled to provide appropriate care. In addition, with little federal funding, there is a lack of health information in the wide variety of needed languages. RHIN provides an online database of peer-reviewed health information in multiple languages for use by health professionals.

Health-Equity.Org and the CPSC, on behalf of RHIN, hosted a symposium on November 17–18, 2008, to discuss:

  • Expanding the collection of available multilingual, multicultural materials
  • Establishing best practices for material development
  • Addressing emerging issues for refugees and their host communities
  • Promoting RHIN in new ways

Key Results

  • Approximately 50 people attended the symposium (se the Appendix for a list of attendees).
  • The symposium, held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., focused on how to:
    • Access peer-reviewed health information available on the RHIN Web site—as well as from other sources—that reflects patients' languages and cultures. Nearly 150 languages are spoken by refugees and immigrants nationwide.
    • Enable and encourage a culture of information sharing and communication among health care providers who specialize in refugee health. This can help alleviate the problem of duplicative materials for some topics and languages, and a lack of materials for others.
    • Develop RHIN's partnerships and shape its future in order to better serve the needs of refugee health professionals.
  • Symposium participants provided recommendations that continue to inform RHIN network planners in their development efforts. Recommendations included:
    • Creating monthly "look what's new" updates
    • Posting meeting notes and one-page draft summaries of ongoing projects
    • Creating modules for different topics, such as TB, with basic information and materials that delve into the details
    • Creating a listserv to facilitate sharing of information as well as a directory of discussion lists on refugee health issues
    • Coordinating efforts with other organizations in assessing the information needs of refugee populations
    • Sharing guidelines to cultural competence
    • Providing more links to communities and organizations that serve foreign-speaking populations
    • Promoting RHIN to local health departments, and distributing a RHIN promotional packet at conferences and other venues

RWJF supported this project with a grant of $42,313 from May through December 2008. The National Library of Medicine provided the facilities for the symposium.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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Support for a meeting of refugee health coordinators to improve the quality and accessibility of refugee health information


Health-Equity.Org (Arlington,  VA)

  • Amount: $ 42,313
    Dates: May 2008 to August 2008
    ID#:  064391


John C. Scott, M.S.
(703) 536-5642

Web Site


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Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Participant List

Jenny Aguirre
Center for Minority Services
Chicago, Ill.

Margaret Allen
Hmong Health Information Network
Stratford, Wis.

Emily Beauregard
Refugee Health Coordinator
Family Health Centers
Louisville, Ky.

Renée Bougard
Outreach Librarian
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, Md.

Marta Brenden
Coordinator for Refugee Health Programs
Office of Refugee Resettlement, Division of Refugee Assistance
Washington, D.C.

Heather Burke
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Ga.

Cynthia Cadden
Lockheed Martin Information Technology
Gaithersburg, Md.

Pete Chauvette
Lockheed Martin Information Technology
Gaithersburg, Md.

Barbara Clark
Center for Public Service Communications
Arlington, Va.

Eric Cleghorn
Refugee Health Coordinator
NY State Department of Health
Albany, N.Y.

Jacquelyn Coughlan
State University of New York, Institute of Technology
Utica, N.Y.

Sidneé Dallas
State Refugee Health Coordinator
Virginia Department of Health
Richmond, Va.

Susan Dicker, P.H.N., M.S., M.P.H.
Refugee Health Nurse Consultant
Minnesota Department of Health
St. Paul, Minn.

Sarah Donnelly
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Division of Refugee Assistance
Washington, D.C.

Gale Dutcher
Outreach and Special Populations Branch
Division of Specialized Information Services
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, Md.

Patricia Erwin
Program Manager
Newcomers Health Program
San Francisco Department of Public Health
San Francisco, Calif.

Kate W. Flewelling
National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow
Health Sciences Library
Inova Fairfax Hospital
Falls Church, Va.

Mary Alice Gillispie, M.D.
Healthy Roads Media
Bozeman, Mt.

Carrie Gould-Kabler
Director of Community Outreach
Center for Public Service Communications
Arlington, Va.

Paul Henkel
State Refugee Health Coordinator
Tennessee Office for Refugees
Nashville, Tenn.

Ruth Holst
Associate Director
Greater Midwest Region/NNLM
Chicago, Ill.

Sam Householder
Refugee Health Screening Program
Department of Health
Austin, Texas

Ellen Howard
Harborview Medical Center
Seattle, Wash.

Kaleb W. Johnson
Refugee Health Coordinator
Department of Health
Government of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.

Thomas Keenan
Health Screening Coordinator
New York City, New York State OTDA/BRIA
Albany, N.Y.

Paula Kitendaugh
Head, Reference and Web Services
National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, Md.

Colleen Mahar-Piersma
Refugee Training Specialist
Cultural Orientation Resource Center
Center for Applied Linguistics
Washington, D.C.

Tim Maher, R.N.
Milwaukee City TB Control
Keenan Health Center
Milwaukee, Wis.

Jessica Montour
Refugee Health Screening Program
Department of Health
Austin, Texas

Jennifer Morillo
Refugee Health Program
Department of Health and Human Services
Raleigh, N.C.

Ann O'Fallon
Refugee Health Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Health
St Paul, Minn.

Catherine Potter
Refugee Resettlement Program
Catholic Social Services
Mobile, Ala.

John C. Scott
Center for Public Service Communications
Arlington, Va.

Carrie A. Senseman, M.P.A.
Refugee Health Coordinator
Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control
Arizona Department of Health Services
Phoenix, Ariz.

Dipti D. Shah, M.P.H.
Epidemiologist/State Refugee & Migrant Health Coordinator
Division of TB Control, Refugee and Migrant Health
Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Baltimore, Md.

Laura Smith
Bureau of TB and Refugee Health
Department of Health
Tallahassee, Fla.

Savitri J. Tsering, M.S.S.W.
Refugee Health Coordinator
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Madison, Wis.

Captain John Tuskan, R.N., M.S.N.
Director, Refugee Mental Health Program
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Rockville, Md.

Maria-Luisa Vallejo
Division of Community Health and Equity
Rhode Island Department of Health
Providence, R.I.

Carlos Zavala, Chief
Refugee Health Section
California Department of Public Health
Sacramento, Calif.

Irina Zelenskaya
Department of Workforce Development
Division of Employment and Training
Bureau of Migrant, Refugee and Labor Services
Madison, Wis.

Other National Library of Medicine Invitees
Laura Bartlett
Alla Keselman
Cassandra Allen
Nicole Dancy
Deena Pers
Karen Falconer
Cynthia Gaines

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(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

World Wide Web Sites

www.rhin.org. The Web site of the Refugee Health Information Network includes the symposium's agenda, background, presentations and a summary of the group discussions.

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Report prepared by: DiAnn Ohama
Reviewed by: Marian Bass
Program Officer: Wendy Yallowitz

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