July 2016
  Black Mamas Matter Toolkit
Available Now!  
Black Mamas Matter, a cross-sectoral convening of leaders on Black maternal health. Researchers, service providers, policy experts, and community organizers, including Every Woman Southeast, gathered to identify innovative strategies for improving Black maternal health outcomes. Click here to access the toolkit. 
Refugee? Asylee? What's the difference?  
Both refugees and asylum-seekers or asylees are those who are unable to stay in their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on one or more of the following factors: Race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion.

Under US immigration law, to a be a refugee, you must face persecution due to the factors above; you must apply for refugee status outside the US;  
and your case must be of special humanitarian concern to the US. In FY 2015, just under 70,000 refugees entered the US, the largest numbers coming from Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan. 


Asylum is a form of protection available to people who meet the definition of a refugee and are already in the US or seeking admission at a port of entry.  People can apply for asylum in the US regardless of country of origin or current immigration status. In FY 2013, the US granted asylum to just over 25,000 people.  


For more information see the Refugee Resettlement Process Overview and Flowchart from US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Being a Refugee is not a Choice
Being a refugee is not a choice: Carina Hoang at TEDxPerth
Being a refugee is not a choice: Carina Hoang at TEDxPerth

Refugees are often marginalized, their humanity ignored as their stories go untold. In this remarkable and emotional talk, however, author and former refugee Carina Hoang discusses her experience as a "boat person". It's a powerful account that is impossible to ignore.
Recommended Reading  
  To better understand the plight of asylum-seekers in the US, consider reading this powerful book that shares the experiences of the author, Fauziya Kassindja, in her own words. The story takes you through her trials of fleeing Togo before she was to undergo female genital mutilation/cutting and seeking asylum in the US. She was locked up in detention centers upon her arrival and went on to fight her way to be part of a landmark decision in immigration history.  

Marcia Carteret is a  specialist in health care communications, providing training programs to address what the Joint Commission calls "the triple threat" to health care communication: cultural barriers, English proficiency, and low health literacy. In her blog, " Reading Between the Head Nods," Carteret discusses  how language and culture can affect interactions between providers and their immigrant and refugee patients.
Refugee and Asylee Health
Every year in July, many Americans celebrate our country's freedom with fireworks and outdoor cooking. But imagine for a moment being forced to flee your country in order to escape to safety. In these situations, some people are lucky to have time to pack a bag; others simply drop everything and run.
Displaced people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, are often identified as a "vulnerable population"-- that is, a group at increased risk for poor physical, psychological, and social health outcomes, as well as inadequate health care. Many factors can influence the health and well-being of individuals resettling in the US, particularly women, and addressing them can be challenging. But wellness is key for successful resettlement; it supports individuals' ability to work, go school, and take care of a family, as well as adapt to a new culture and country. 
Mental Health and Women's Health
Mental health and women's health are two critical topics that need special attention among refugees and asylees. The incidence of diagnoses varies with different populations and their experiences. The more common mental health diagnoses associated with refugee populations include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, adjustment disorder, and somatization. Children and adolescents often have higher rates of PTSD and major depression. Common risk factors for the development of mental health problems include the number of traumas, delayed asylum application process, detention, and the loss of culture and support systems. 

Refugee women represent a vulnerable group who have been involuntarily displaced, are survivors of human rights abuses, and need special attention and care. Access to culturally sensitive care and support is crucial for refugee women. This includes care during pregnancy and childbirth, family planning services, interconception care, screening for gender-based violence and sexually transmitted infections, and preventive health services.

For more information, see the articles and resources below: 

 The Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) recognizes that refugees have unique health needs. They are dedicated to improving the well-being of refugees by providing tools, resources, and support for health and mental health providers in order to
better meet the needs of refugees in resettlement.   Topics include
women's health, mental health, oral health, and the ACA, among others.  
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) has toolkits and resources for refugees and those who work with them in a variety of languages.  Topics include health, nutrition, and serving refugees with disabilities, domestic violence, cultural orientation for refugee women, financial literacy, and more.

The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) provides direct clinical care, training, and advocacy to meet the needs of those who have experienced torture and to end torture worldwide.  CVT has resources and tools for torture survivors, human rights defenders, and health and human service providers
New Blog Posts!
After a season of quiet on the EWSE blog, we are back!  Read two new posts from Sarah V. on getting her voice going again and reflections from the Black Mamas Matter convening.

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