December 13, 2021

Georgetown Medical Students provide practical support for refugee integration

Written by Brandi Kilmer
Reza Ayoubi

Since 2017, Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) collaborates with NoVa Friends of Refugees, a grassroots refugee support organization, to direct a course focusing on the medical needs of newly resettled refugees. Together with Catholic Charities, the Virginia Department of Health, and locally resettled refugees, students discuss resettlement, invisible barriers to services, and specific medical issues faced by refugee populations in the Washington DC area and identify a project they can positively impact.

Ruba Omeira
Mohamad Almasri

Recognizing how complex navigating the U.S. healthcare system is for those coming from other countries, over the years, the medical students have developed several projects including producing a series of videos to help explain in simple terms How To Visit the Doctor in the U.S. and How To Visit the Pharmacy in the U.S., as well as organizing a network of volunteers to assist refugees with specific medical needs to navigate the U.S. healthcare system.

Upon completing the course, these future physicians not only have a greater understanding of refugees’ experiences and needs but also are providing solutions for many of the challenges of successful integration.

Both are necessary components to providing quality and compassionate health care for newly-arrived refugees.

TSOS is pleased to document and support the 2021-2022 GUSOM NoVa Friends of Refugees cohort, in collaboration with the George Mason University refugees student organization Safe Haven Space, Northern Virginia Coalition for Refugee Wellness, and Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington.

In response to the number of displaced Afghans who are and will be relocating to the greater Washington D.C. area, many of whom suffer from the effects of trauma, the class will be identifying a project which focuses on refugee mental health and wellness.

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