Mobilizing medical students to address Refugee's barriers to Healthcare




Le, Minh
Philip, Timothy
Nguyen, Alexandra
Murphy, Joshua
Singhal, Juhi


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Texas, a top state for refugee resettlement in the nation, still faces a number of barriers in providing healthcare access to refugees including cost of care, health education, resource navigation, language, and cultural barriers. In 2017, the Refugee Health Initiative (RHI), a student-run clinic at University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), was founded to bridge the gap between established healthcare systems and the refugee population in Tarrant county, Texas. Overview of Clinic: The RHI Refugee clinic is currently held at two apartment complexes in Fort Worth that house a large number of refugees. While consulting with overseeing physicians, students run the clinics by gathering histories, conducting physical exams, offering ultrasounds, and educating patients. Services include screenings, disease management, and education. Interpretation is provided by volunteers and remote interpreters through a mobile app. Furthermore, RHI partners with local organizations that provide advertisement, translation, and other resources that are beneficial in providing care. Successes and Challenges: One of the main challenges, among many, is finding translators who can come to the clinics in person. Some successes include being able to conduct regular health screenings for the refugees at these locations and helping connect them to healthcare systems already established. Conclusion: To help bridge the gap between healthcare systems and the refugee population, RHI provides free services directly in their neighborhood, connections with local programs, and lifestyle education. The goal is to expand services, provide vaccinations, and incorporate clinic roles for other health professional students to foster cross-cultural care.