Session: Welcoming Afghan Evacuees: A National Discussion of Rapid Response, Emerging Needs, and Mechanisms for Support (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

205 Welcoming Afghan Evacuees: A National Discussion of Rapid Response, Emerging Needs, and Mechanisms for Support

Saturday, January 14, 2023: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Hospitality 3 - Room 432, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Immigrants and Refugees
Patricia Shannon, PhD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Patricia Shannon, PhD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Mary Bunn, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, Hyojin Im, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University, Miriam Kuttikat, Ph.D, Virginia Commonwealth University and Ashley Cureton, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Since August, 2021, more than 84,600 Afghans have arrived in the United States through Operation Allies Welcome (OAW). Eighty-six percent of Afghans have experienced at least one traumatic event. Forty-seven percent of Afghans report experiencing psychological distress and over 75% of women report experiencing depression that persists in post-displacement contexts. Proactive, early assessment, care coordination and preventive intervention are essential components of successful services for Afghan refugees.

The emergency evacuation of Afghans through OAW skipped normal refugee processing abroad with families being airlifted directly to U.S. military bases. Host states then accepted evacuees from bases for resettlement. This rapid resettlement process necessitated unprecedented responses from community and government agencies, and a reliance on local expertise to provide appropriate reception and innovative support for evacuee families. This roundtable session begins a dialogue across state programs to share knowledge gained through ongoing response efforts. Our goal will be to share challenges faced and lessons learned related to rapid response, intervention development and adaptation, and understanding community needs for recently arrived Afghan refugees.

Our first presenters, Dr. Shannon and Will Carlson, will discuss the Minnesota state-level disaster relief effort. The refugee health program mobilized several teams at the University of Minnesota to provide integrated health and mental health assessment and support for families. Outcomes, challenges, and proactive support provided in transitional housing will be described. Our second and third presenters will describe collaborative adaptations of interventions for refugee families. Dr. Bunn will describe a national collaboration between Boston College and the University of Illinois at Chicago that aims to adapt the Afghan Family Strengthening Initiative for Afghan evacuees, an evidence based whole family mental health promotion intervention. Using the ADAPT-ITT framework and community based participatory research methods, the first phase of the project involved conducting rapid, ethnographic interviews with Afghan families temporarily residing at Ft. McCoy, WI. Content modifications indicated by cultural advisors related to mental health, gender dynamics, family relationships and language will be discussed. The third presenter, Dr. Im will describe a collaboration between Virginia Commonwealth University and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to implement a Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support model to address emotional distress and gaps in care access among new arrivals. Results will discuss causal mechanisms of the intervention model across varied complex intervention settings and lessons learned from the implementation process. Presenters four and five will discuss community-based needs evaluations in Virginia and Michigan. Dr. Kuttikat will discuss the Community-Engaged Migration Research Lab's collaboration with Richmond Refugee Dialogues exploring the stressors experienced by Afghan refugees and their adjustment and family functioning. Dr. Cureton will describe a community-engaged project exploring the resettlement experiences of Afghan refugees in Michigan, a major resettlement site for more than 2,000 Afghan refugees. In partnership with Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, this project utilizes focus groups and in-depth interviews to capture the lived experiences and specific needs of Afghan refugees and to understand emerging needs of stakeholders across refugee settlement agencies in response to the shifting policies and processes.

See more of: Roundtables