Helping CNY’s Refugees Navigate Healthcare

By: Crouse News

refugee health class

Imagine resettling in a new country, having to navigate an unfamiliar culture trying to use a language you don’t speak or understand. Further envision needing medical care, particularly in an emergency, not knowing how to access treatment — or even realizing it’s available.

That’s the plight of 3,000 to 5,000 refugees who come to New York State each year, with 1,000 calling Central New York home.

To help our new neighbors, Crouse Health has worked with the Onondaga County Refugee Health Committee for many years. Beyond securing food, clothing and shelter, a major hurdle for these residents is access to healthcare, given barriers such as culture, lack of services and fear of the unknown.

refugee health classSeveral years ago, our community engagement team designed a program to help teach refugee families how to obtain medical care. The program is modeled after our Visit to Hospital Land Program, funded by the Crouse Hospital Auxiliary, which has been educating first graders from across the county about hospital care for more than 40 years.

Participants learn when to call 9-1-1; how to find a provider for adult refugee health classand child preventive care; obtain treatment during times of illness; how to fill, measure and administer medications; and the importance of hand washing. The interactive, hands-on program is assisted by translators who help overcome language barriers.

Crouse has served more than 250 refugees by providing education and outreach to improve their access and knowledge about healthcare in our community. We have worked with The Syracuse City School District Refugee Assistance Program, The SUNY Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center and the New Americans Forum to provide area refugees with practical tools to help them succeed and stay well in our community.


Crouse News is reported by members of our Communications Team.

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