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March 12, 2012 – Burma Health Dialogue recap

Burma

On March 12, 2011, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans joined with five other sponsors to host the Burma Health Forum, which aimed to create greater dialogue pertaining to the health needs of refugees from Burma in Minnesota. The forum featured keynote speaker, Dr. Myo Nyunt, who provided political and historical background information on the country of Burma; a first-hand refugee story from Eh Tha Khu, a newly arrived Karen refugee to Minnesota; and several panelists who work in both systems navigation and health integration for refugee community members in the state of Minnesota.

SponsorsThe Language BancThe Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans,Karen Organization of MinnesotaHealthEast Care SystemUCareMN Department of Health

Event Materials

Presentations (all files are in PDF format, will open in new window)

It is the hope of this council and its sponsors that this forum will be the first of many discussions about how to better address the various healthcare needs of refugees from Burma living in Minnesota. It is imperative that healthcare providers work with both local refugee integration organizations as well as the Burma community itself to gain a greater understanding of the unique cultural, linguistic, and personal barriers that prevent these citizens from getting the care they need and deserve.

Call to ActionWithout action, there is no change.

  • Contact your legislators: Individuals, groups, or organizations interested in speaking to legislators to advocate on behalf of the community from Burma may contact the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.
  • Connecting with stakeholders: Want to be more involved in discussing way to improve health outcomes and health care access for refugees from Burma? Please contact the Council at capm@state.mn.us as a way to get in touch with organizations and individuals working on this topic.
 
 

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Interpreters needed

The Center for Victims of Torture is seeking Tigrenya, Karen, Cambodian/Khmer, and Mandingo interpreters to provide interpretation services to international clients who are receiving therapy, social, and medical services. Interpretation is typically in a face-to-face setting, but there may be periodic need for phone interpretation or document translation.  Interpretation services are provided on a part-time, as-needed basis in St. Paul. Hours vary, but typically interpreters will work between 2 to 6 hours per week. Hourly rate is $20-$25 per hour.

  • Applicant must possess excellent interpreting skills.
  • Fluency in target language and English.
  • Must be registered on the MN Department of Health Interpreter Registry
  • Interpreting experience in the medical, mental health, or social services areas preferred.
  • Experience working in a confidential environment.
  • Interested in the advancement of human rights.
  • Must be able to work flexible hours between the hours of 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday.

For more information and to apply:  http://cvt.simplicant.com/

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Community news

 

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Working with Refugees in Minnesota

Working with Refugee Families in the Child Welfare System

children with a world globe

Authors
Patricia Shannon, PhD, LP
Jennifer Simmelink, MSW

This module provides information about the major refugee groups in Minnesota, the Karen, Bhutanese, Oromo, Somali, and Iraqi. It provides political and cultural context for these groups as well as information about factors that impact them in the child welfare system. It also includes recommendations for child welfare workers who work with these populations.

NOTE: CEU credit is not available for this module because it can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Follow the link below to watch the presentation.

Watch the module on  Working with Refugee Families in the Child Welfare System

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Health Literacy: Implications for Immigrant and Refugee Families

 mother and children

Authors:
Hee Yun Lee, PhD

This modules explores the relationship between health literacy, health outcomes, and health disparities with special attention to children and families and immigrants and refugees.  It provides specific examples of how health literacy can affect health outcomes and offers interventions to respond to health literacy needs and to reduce health disparities.

Follow this link to watch the module.

 

Taking the Quiz and Earning Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)

At the end of this module, you will be given a choice to connect to the quiz for the module.  Upon successful completion of the quiz (80% or above correct), there will be a link to a secure site to pay a minimal fee for the CEHs and receive a CEH completion certificate.  The module has a value of 1 CEH ($15.00).

Back to Online Learning Modules page

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Resources

 

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Burma Health Dialogue: From Entry to Integration

Burma Health Dialogue: From Entry to Integration

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Location: MN Department of Health’s Snelling Office Park

Mississippi Room, 1645 Energy Park Drive, St Paul, MN

Link for directions: http://www.health.state.mn.us/about/sop.html

Burma

This dialogue is a follow up to the event ‘Healthcare for the Burmese and Karen Communities in Minnesota: A Community Conversation’ held on October 29, 2011 at Rondo St. Paul Public Library.

 

Suggested attendees include: health providers, social workers, educators, health plans, legislators, social service providers, community agencies and others serving refugees from Burma.

 

Highlights Include:

Overview:   Refugees from Burma

Panel 1: Entry – Journey to the United States 

This panel will include a personal refugee story, as well as provide insight into the role that several agencies play when new refugees come to Minnesota. Panelists will include representatives from the state health department, a local refugee resettlement agency and a community based organization.

Panel 2: Integration – Health Care Coordination

This panel will explore the systems needed to ensure care coordination for refugees after initial resettlement in the U.S. as well as an overview by a primary care provider on working with refugees from Burma. Panelists will include representatives from an interpreter service agency, a health plan, a health provider, and a healthcare navigator. 

Interactive discussion will be encouraged throughout the afternoon.

Stay tuned for a detailed agenda coming soon!

CEUs will be available. This event is FREE to the public.

RSVP to Scott Ruhsam at sruhsam@thelanguagebanc.com or 612-588-9410 by March 5.

This program is sponsored by MDH, HealthEast Care System, UCare, Karen Organization of Minnesota, Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans and Language Banc.

healthdialogue sponsors

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in CAPM Events, CAPM news

 

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SEARAC Press Release: New Federal Guidance on Promoting Diversity & Reducing Racial Isolation in K-12 Schools and Higher Education Benefits SE Asian American Students

The below is a press release from the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2011

Contact: Pang Houa Moua, panghoua@searac.org; (202) 744-0436

New Federal Guidance on Promoting Diversity and Reducing Racial Isolation in K-12 Schools and Higher Education Benefits Southeast Asian American Students

Washington, DC –  On Friday December 2, 2011, the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice jointly issued new federal guidance to provide a roadmap for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to leverage the benefits of educational diversity to achieve high quality, inclusive educational opportunities for all students. The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) applauds this new guidance that provides tremendous opportunities for institutions to serve the educational needs of Southeast Asian American and other underserved students.

The guidance makes clear that the nation’s K-12 schools and colleges can use race in a variety of ways to assemble diverse student bodies and improve the quality of education for every student. The new guidance also provides concrete suggestions that K-12 schools and colleges can pursue in order to enhance social cohesion, reduce racial and economic isolation, and improve the quality of education for every student. The guidance for colleges and universities provides examples for a range of approaches to achieving diversity, including admissions procedures, development of pipeline programs, recruitment and outreach initiatives, and support programs (including mentoring, tutoring, and retention).

“At the K-12 level, too many of our students attend racially and economically isolated schools, and contrary to the ‘model minority myth’ – a misconception that all Asian Americans excel academically and face few obstacles – Southeast Asian American and Pacific Islander students remain underrepresented within higher education,” said Quyen Dinh, education policy advocate at SEARAC. Educational disparities within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are highlighted when educational outcomes are disaggregated by subgroup. For example, according to the American Community Survey, in comparison to over 86% of the overall Asian American population who holds a high school degree or higher, disaggregated data reveals that this is true for only 67% of Cambodian, 65% of Hmong, 68% of Laotian, and 70% of Vietnamese Americans aged 25 and over. In California, a 2010 report found that over a four-year period, one-fifth of Pacific Islander students in grades 9-12 are estimated to drop out. This guidance is a powerful advocacy tool for Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander communities to voice the needs for their students to be included in diversity policies at educational institutions.

SEARAC supports the Department of Education and Department of Justice in the issuance of this guidance and is ready to work with both agencies to ensure that this guidance acts to alleviate educational barriers that still exist for many Southeast Asian Americans and other underrepresented communities.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Legislative, National news, Press Release

 

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STAND BY COMMITMENT TO MINNESOTA’S REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS

The following article was originally printed in Asian American Press on Oct. 24, 2011

(Comments from CAPM: the typical fee for a citizenship test is $675, a cost that is very difficult to afford for low-income refugees and immigrants, especially those with a disability and limited English proficiency.)

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STAND BY COMMITMENT TO MINNESOTA’S REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS

By Pham Thi Hoa and John Keller

Mr. Vang is a refugee who was resettled in Minneapolis in 2004 after spending over a decade living in a makeshift refugee camp in Wat Thamkrabok in Thailand.

Like thousands of Hmong men, Mr. Vang proudly fought alongside U.S. forces during the Secret War in Laos. Because of his allegiance to the United States, Mr. Vang became a refugee after U.S. forces pulled out of Southeast Asia.

The United States agreed to resettle him and his family as legal refugees to the U.S., and ultimately Minnesota, under our international humanitarian treaty obligations. Today, he faces yet another crisis that leaves him fearful for his well-being.

At 63 years old, he faces the looming cut off of his Supplemental Security Income in the coming months if he does not successfully naturalize. He has already attempted to naturalize once, but did not pass the test because of his limited English language ability and his disability which both qualifies him for SSI and simultaneously makes attaining citizenship more difficult.

On September 30th, Supplemental Security Income benefits will run out for thousands of low income, elderly and disabled refugees across the nation like Mr. Vang, unless Congress acts quickly to address a short term extension of the benefits. In fact, 720 refugees in Minnesota are projected to lose their SSI in 2011 alone — the third highest number in the country.

SSI provides the bare minimum, no more than $674 for an individual, and $1,011 for a couple per month, to afford the very basic necessities. During these tough economic times, it is especially unconscionable for us to cut off basic resources to this vulnerable community to whom we promised humanitarian treatment, when it could mean they are left hungry and without their basic needs met.

Today’s problem began fifteen years ago. In 1996, Congress restricted SSI to no more than seven years for elderly and disabled refugees, with the misconception that they should be able to naturalize within this time and thus, remain eligible for benefits. Importantly, in 2008, President Bush recognized the hardship this mandatory cut-off was having on vulnerable refugees and signed legislation to protect them — until September 30, 2011.

As direct service providers who work with refugee populations know all too well, seven years is not nearly enough time to learn English and gain citizenship, especially for a population that is elderly and who have disabilities that limit their learning ability. For those who have severe mental or physical disabilities, usually caused by the very situation they were forced to flee, and those who are often among the most elderly, the ability to learn a new language and memorize information for the naturalization test may take the rest of their lives.

Furthermore, some of these same vulnerable, disabled individuals may also face the loss of SSI due to errors or delays by either themselves, the government, or both while requesting asylum, permanent residency, and naturalization — a reality that any Congressional staffer who works with immigration applications will acknowledge. Refugee elders are often critical contributors to the livelihood of entire family units and communities.

For many elderly and disabled refugees, the cut off of SSI is severe and has a wide ranging impact on the well-being of their families. Our members of Congress must act to ensure that an extension on SSI is passed as soon as possible to prevent needless hardship for those most vulnerable among us.

In addition, the Minnesota delegation must also work in Congress to sever the link between naturalization and SSI for those who are elderly or disabled and to help us honor the commitment made to these internationally vulnerable neighbors.

Pham Thi Hoa is the executive director of CAPI, a community-based social justice organization and a direct implementer of anti-poverty programs to provide jobs, housing, food, health education, youth and senior social services in the Minneapolis area.

John Keller is executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, whose mission is to provide quality immigration legal services, law-related education, and advocacy to meet the steadily increasing needs of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Community news, Legislative, National news

 

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