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Features: February/March 2020

Upcoming Fasting Holiday - February 24th - April 19th is the Ethiopian Orthodox Great Holy Lent Fast lasting 55 days culminating on Easter April 19, 2020, observed by followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Other Orthodox Christians may also be fasting during this season. Read about the fast, and consider medical implications for some patients.

February is American Heart Month heart image 

Raise awareness about heart health! 

Heart-related Patient Education Materials in multiple languages:

  • Basic information about heart failure: what it means, what causes it, how does it feel, how can I help myself, when should I call my doctor? Amharic, English, Tigrinya
  • Information about heart attack symptoms, emergency response and prevention. Developed by EthnoMed in partnership with King County EMS's Vulnerable Populations Strategic Initiative. Amharic, English, Khmer, Vietnamese
  • PDF with pictures and simple text about the signs and symptoms of heart attack in women. Translations were produced by Franciscan Health System and The Hope Heart Institute and are based on an English version produced by the Office on Women's Health. English, Korean, Spanish, Chamorro, Russian, Tagalog, Chinese - Simplified, Samoan, Ukrainian, Khmer/Cambodian, Somali, Vietnamese

2020 North American Refugee Health Conference


The North American Refugee Health Conference is recognized as the preeminent conference destination for healthcare and resettlement professionals working with refugee populations.  This three day conference focuses on issues that are relevant to the emerging field of refugee healthcare.  ~700 attendees have the opportunity to learn about best practices, increase their levels of cultural competency, connect with like-minded professionals, reflect on the challenges and successes of the work they do, and develop a network of colleagues who are making a difference in their communities.  


Winter Weather Risks - Educational Resources

WinterImageExtreme winter weather conditions can pose increased risks like flooding, power outages, hypothermia and accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Educational campaigns to prevent CO poisoning consider immigrants' cultural practices and languages and specifically warn against burning charcoal indoors and incorrect ventilation of gasoline- or propane-powered electric generators. Public Health - Seattle & King County and the National Library of Medicine provide fact sheets, videos and other resources in multiple languages with tips to help people prepare for and manage winter weather conditions and related risks. Read more...


Recent Features: 

WA State DSHS Information on Public Charge & Additional Resources

UPDATE January 27, 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily set aside the preliminary injunctions that prevented DHS’ public charge rule from taking effect nationwide. This was the last of the three district court nationwide injunctions in force, which means that the DHS rule can go into effect nationwide, except in Illinois where it is blocked by a statewide injunction. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced it will begin implementation of the new public charge rule on February 24, 2020. 

The federal Department of Homeland Security has published final rules that were intended to take effect on October 15, 2019 that could apply to people who receive specified public benefits. The State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has reviewed the rules and wants to provide accurate, reliable information for individuals and families who may be impacted by changing policies:

  • Programs and services administered by the State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services will remain in place and are accessible to people who are eligible.
  • DSHS continues to protect the confidentiality of clients’ personal information and does not share this information unless required by state or federal law.  
  • The changes may impact certain people applying for lawful permanent residency (green cards) or admission to the United States – including diversity visa immigrants and applications to renew, change or extend visas in the United States. 
  • The rule does not impact lawful permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship or naturalization. 
  • This new rule does not apply to all immigrants. It does not apply to people who are refugees and asylees, Amerasian immigrants, Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa Holders, Cuban/ Haitian Entrants, humanitarian parolees, victims of human trafficking (T- Visa), victims of criminal activity (U-Visa), Special Immigrant Juveniles or VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) self-petitioners. 
  • Previously, officials would only count a client’s use of cash assistance or long-term medical institutionalization when considering their immigration application. The changes will add certain federal health care, nutrition and housing benefits. 
  • The rule will not apply retroactively to benefits that were received before the rule’s effective date. These additional federal benefits will only be considered if a person applied for, was certified for or received benefits after the rule becomes effective. Currently, the rule is expected to become effective October 15, 2019 (Update 10/11/19: federal court blocks implementation of the rule; Update 1/27/2020: the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily set aside the preliminary injunctions that prevented DHS’ public charge rule from taking effect nationwide. This was the last of the three district court nationwide injunctions in force, which means that the DHS rule can go into effect nationwide, except in Illinois where it is blocked by a statewide injunction. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced it will begin implementation of the new public charge rule on February 24, 2020.  )
  • The changes will not apply to all types of federal benefits. For a list of benefits that are included or excluded, see the Frequently Asked Questions. NO changes are being made to state benefits, although state and local cash assistance will continue to be considered. 
  • It does not count the use of benefits by a person’s family members. The use of benefits by children or other household members will not be counted against an individual applying for lawful permanent residency (green card) or admission to the United States. 

Individuals and families who have questions or concerns about the impact of using public benefits on their immigration status should contact an immigration attorney. Please read more to find contact information for immigration legal resources, and for more local and national resources on public charge

Immigrant Health Toolkit From the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Pediatricians have a unique role in caring for and supporting immigrant children, and this toolkit is meant to provide relevant and practical information that will empower providers in Washington to promote the health and well-being of their immigrant patients. The toolkit was created by Harborview Medical Center physicians Dr. Vaidehi Pidaparti and Dr. Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, with contributions from Dr. Anisa Ibrahim, Dr. Suzinne Pak-Gorstein and Dr. Abigail Grant. 

The Toolkit contains:

  • New Immigrant Screening and Care Guidelines Adapted from Harborview Medical Center Pediatric Clinic (Immigrant Status Definitions, Proposed Patient Care and Follow-up Plan, Lab Screening Checklist, Parasitic Disease Presumptive Treatment, Migration Health Template, Eligibility for Government Funded Programs Based on Immigration Status)
  • Highlights from the American Academy of Pediatrics Immigrant Health Toolkit
  • Bullying Resources from the Northwest Immigrant and Refugee Health Coalition 
  • Know Your Rights - A Guide to Your Rights When Interacting with Law Enforcement
  • Family Preparedness Plans from Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (WA-specific) and the Oregon Legal Center
  • NILC Protecting Access to Healthcare - fact sheet with guidance regarding how healthcare staff can “prepare for and respond to (a) enforcement actions by immigration officials and (b) interactions with law enforcement that could result in immigration consequences for their patients.”
  • Attorney List compiled by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project of attorneys in the greater Seattle area who specialize in immigration law
  • Supporting Young Children Experiencing Separation and Trauma - Resources for Adults Who Care for Them: a compendium of resources from Zero to Three on addressing infant mental health including state-based information on contacts and recommended approaches
  • Additional Resources: include a support letter template and a list of consulting providers available to provide consultation and support in patient care, or to receive referrals for patients including those that are medically or socially complex

See also, from the American Academy of Pediatrics:


Community Health Education Videos - Amharic

HIV/AIDS In The Ethiopian Community:

Ethio Youth Media TV in partnership with Center Multicultural Health share this interview produced to create awareness and reduce stigma surrounding HIV in the Ethiopian community. Video (24 min 49 sec) in Amharic. See also: content summary in English.


The Silent Killer - Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention:

A conversation with Mrs. Aida Mengistu, Public Health- Seattle & King County, about carbon monoxide poisoning, symptoms of exposure and prevention. Video (24 min 49 sec) in Amharic.  See also: content summary in English.


Welcome to EthnoMed

EthnoMed contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues and related topics pertinent to the health care of immigrants to Seattle or the US, many of whom are refugees fleeing war-torn parts of the world.

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Migrant Children and Health

The Migrant Children and Health Campaign has created a video featuring leaders in immigrant and refugee health advocacy introducing the facts about migrant children health and the continued history of racial and ethnic disease scaremongering in the U.S. For more information about this Campaign and to view the video "Migrant Children and Health: Borders, Boundaries, and Bigotry" click here.

Torture Resources

Resources for clinicians and advocates around issues of torture, often related to warfare and political repression.  Includes information about Northwest Health and Human Rights (NWHHR) coalition serving refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in Washington State.  Visit Caring for Survivors of Torture page for additional information.