Immigrant and Refugee Health Programs (IRHP)

This program ensures the well-being of immigrants and refugees by providing culturally-responsive health care, assisting with the integration of children and their families into schools, and improving the cultural competence of providers. To date, the program has served more than 1,800 newly arrived refugees and more than 300 new immigrants from Central America.

Chelsea is home to immigrants and refugees from Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Africa, and countries in Central America – refugees who have experienced trauma, witnessed violence and war, were born and/or lived in refugee camps with limited resources, and had very limited health care access and educational support. Given their experience, immigrants and refugees may arrive in the U.S. with a range of health or psychosocial needs and the IRHP helps them connect to primary, specialty care, and other needed services and resources.    

The Refugee Health Assessment: MGH is a designated refugee health assessment site since 2001, and the program receives funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  MGH Chelsea provides comprehensive health assessments for newly-arriving refugees and asylees to identify and provide the health and psycho-social services that they need.

The new Central American immigrants’ initiative targets children, adolescents and adults patients newly arrived from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and ensures that they get connected to primary care and other needed health services, helps children enroll in school and connects new immigrants with psycho-social needs to available resources at MGH and in the community.

The Immigrant and Refugee School initiative: Bridges the cultural and academic gaps for newly arrived immigrant and refugee children. The program coordinator orients new immigrants and refugees on academic expectations while teaching social skills to ensure positive interactions with school personnel. The coordinator works to empower immigrant and refugee parents to be academic advocates for their children and motivates students to successfully complete high school and attend post-secondary schools. The coordinator also links families to the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center to help meet the students’ health needs.  

 2014 Outcomes:

  • The program received referrals to provide RHA for 107 new refugee and asylee patients, and more than 300 new immigrants from Central America were referred to get help connecting to care and school and other services 
  • There were 5729 contacts (15,186 activities) with 990 refugee, asylee and immigrant patients. The countries of origin include: Bhutan, El Salvador, Honduras, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Somalia, Congo, Burundi and Nepal.
  • 107 new refugee and asylee patients were seen for RHA and of those, 94% were seen within 90 days of arrival.   
  • 100% of all referred patients were assigned primary care providers, and 95% of those established primary care at MGH Chelsea.

Chantal J.F. Kayitesi, RN, MPH

Phone: 617 887-4224