Session: Overcoming Challenges in Refugee Resettlement: Capacity Building and Collaborative Partnerships for Culture-Informed Programs (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

7 Overcoming Challenges in Refugee Resettlement: Capacity Building and Collaborative Partnerships for Culture-Informed Programs

Thursday, January 13, 2022: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Marquis BR Salon 13, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Immigrants and Refugees
Symposium Organizer:
Hyojin Im, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Refugees experience heightened needs for psychosocial support and health and mental health care due to cumulative trauma and adversities stemming from ethno-racial and religious persecution as social and political injustice globally. Such needs, however, are often neglected or deprioritized during displacement and postponed until resettlement, and yet the chronic deprivation of proper care is unlikely to be addressed promptly after resettlement in the U.S. Barriers in service access and provision not only deteriorate the resettlement process and weaken community integration but also increase burdens to professionals and the refugee community. Lack of culturally relevant services and discrepant priorities in service provision likely exacerbate communication barriers and mistrust, widening inequality in health outcomes as well as other socioeconomic factors.

Using diverse, robust methodologies and building social work science towards socially-just and culturally-responsive resettlement services, this symposium identifies the current gaps in various refugee programs and their impacts on both refugee newcomers and refugee service providers. Specifically, using qualitative methods, the first paper presents how the lack of information about global events and populations that have not before been resettled to the US affects resettlement experiences among Rohingya unaccompanied refugee minors, emphasizing the role of cultural orientation for both newcomers and resettlement staff and the importance of transferring up-to-date knowledge and research into practice. The second paper examines self-efficacy in patient centeredness and cultural intelligence among healthcare providers working with refugees and asylum seekers. Using sequential mixed methods, authors investigated how compassionate trauma-informed practice and patient-centered communication may foster a sense of safety and communication between refugee clients and providers, therefore providing essential services to improve refugees' overall wellness. The third paper presents the implementation and evaluation of state-wide capacity building interventions to bridge the gaps between mental health services and resettlement/psychosocial programs. Using a retrospective pre- and post-training survey and free listing, this study examines how cross-cultural trauma-informed care models help build collaborative care and community partnerships across multiple service sectors.

The last two papers further examine the devastating impacts and amplified disparities in resettlement services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth paper utilized a cross-sectional multi-methods survey to investigate socio-political stressors and work-related factors in relation to refugee resettlement provider wellbeing during the pandemic. The analyses revealed statistically significant differences in key measures (e.g. burnout, stressors, self-care) based on worker category and sociocultural factors. The findings suggest that addressing key work-related factors and reducing stress are critical to improve and sustain the wellbeing of refugee resettlement providers. The last paper draws on qualitative data collected in summer 2020 to examine grassroots refugee-led organizations' (RLOs) crisis response and advocacy efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings point to RLOs' flexibility and adaptability, and reimagined roles of RLOs in collaborative practice and participatory planning for community resilience and sustainability of the refugee program.

Collectively, these papers shed light on how current challenges in refugee resettlement services may be tackled through improved capacity and preparedness among providers and collaborative partnerships for socially-just, community-grounded and culture-informed programs across the refugee-serving communities of practice.

* noted as presenting author
Changing the Way We Prepare: Lessons Learned from Early Resettlement of Rohingya Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
Kerri Evans, PhD, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Kylie Diebold, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Service
Building Client-Centered and Trauma-Informed Mental Health Services for Refugees: Perspectives of Healthcare Providers
Asli Yalim, PhD, University of Central Florida; Carli Meyerson, MSW, University of Central Florida; Kenan Sualp, PhD, University of Central Florida; Kelsey Boyd, University of Central Florida
Building Community Capacity for Refugee Mental Health Care in Resettlement: Towards Culture-Informed and Trauma-Informed Care
Hyojin Im, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University; Laura Swan, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Provider Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from a Survey of Staff Employed By Refugee Resettlement Agencies in Arizona
Karin Wachter, PhD, Arizona State University; Cherra Mathis, MSW, Arizona State University; Micaela Mercado, PhD, LMSW, Arizona State University, Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center; Roseanne Schuster, PhD, Arizona State University; Olga Davis, PhD., Arizona State University; Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, MD., Valleywise Health
Refugee-Led Organizations and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Embedded and Flexible Crisis Response
Odessa Gonzalez Benson, PhD, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Irene Routte, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Ana Paula Pimentel Walker, PhD, University of Michigan; Mieko Yoshihama, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Allison Kelly, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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