Methods: Independent researchers conducted confidential interviews with 30 network participants. The interviews consisted of 32 questions using a mixed methods design to evaluate the impact of network participation on personal and organizational changes related to serving refugee survivors. Participants responded to questions using a ten point Likert Scale and then provided qualitative feedback as an explanation of their ratings. The qualitative responses were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Seven (23.3%) participants were African leaders while others represented mainstream providers including health services ( 4 ), schools (4 ), police (2 ), county services ( 3), housing (1), churches (2),civic/city groups (2), basic needs (2), mental health (3). Participants attended the NNPN between 6 months and two years (M=19 months, SD=5.9).
Results: Twenty seven respondents (90%) reported changes in knowledge and attitude including increased knowledge of physical, mental, cultural and family needs of refugees; developing more positive approaches, gaining more systems knowledge, and feeling more supported in their work. Twenty two (73%) observed changes in their organizational processes including increased awareness, improved processes for working with survivors, improved networking and referrals, and broadened collaborations. Differences between African led community based organizations and mainstream providers will be presented as well as data related to the sustainability of the network.
Conclusion and Implications: Conclusive findings are limited due to the lack of a comparison community however evaluation data indicated that networking proved to be an effective and sustainable method for building support, trust, knowledge and accountability in underserved communities. Collaborations between mainstream and immigrant providers are necessary to effectively outreach address the health and mental health needs of refugee communities. These findings confirm the effectiveness of participatory models for community based research in refugee communities.