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Features: March/April 2015

Abiy Tsom

February 16 - April 12, 2015 is Abiy Tsom, the Ethiopian Orthodox Lent Fast. The fast lasts 55 days and is observed by followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Health care providers should be vigilant and question their patients whether they intend to observe regular or modified fasting. Consider medical implications for patients during their fasting holiday. 
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Migrant Children Health

Immigration ReformSome of the hyped claims and concerns over health risks from unaccompanied migrant children stem from ignorance, if not racial prejudice. The answer to responding to disease challenges is not scaremongering, not pointing fingers at migrant children, but rather ensuring that appropriate treatment is in place for them, regardless of where geographic borders lie. The following resources provide background information on the problem, factual information to help educate, and ongoing initiatives to address the misinformation.
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Caring for Survivors of Torture - Selected New Resources

Obtaining Survivor Histories - Video Clips and Clinical Pearls
Absence4These videos are part of a series of short clips giving examples of issues to be aware of when obtaining a patient history. The clips are from interviews with patients of Dr. Carey Jackson (used with permission) demonstrating aspects of torture histories commonly encountered among torture survivors. New clips:

  • Witnessing the Torture of Others: An Example of Mass Torture in Cambodia under Pol Pot
  • Catastrophic Illness Triggers
  • The Experience of Reactivation

Sequelae of Torture: Traumatic Brain Injury - Video
40 minute video presentation by Dr. Carey Jackson about working with torture survivors. Topics include mechanisms of traumatic brain injury, symptoms of TBI, and how to assess and treat.

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Ritual Female Genital Cutting: Promoting Cultural Versatility and Safety in Medical Practice

Originally presented or referenced at an event organized by Seattle University Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice on December 5, 2014, materials include a video of the presentation given by speakers Drs. Elinor Graham, Anisa Ibrahim and Anab Abdullahi, presentation slides, intake form used to document patient history and exam, and links to related journal articles.
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Recent Features

Somali Perinatal Preference: A Summary for Providers

SHB_PregnancyCenteringProjectBy: The Somali Health Board

This 2 page PDF summarizes information gleaned from focus group discussions with Somali women and includes recommendations for OB providers about Somali women's preferences regarding educational needs and approaches to care of Somali women during prenatal period and labor/delivery. Read more...

See also:

  • A short video produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on behalf of the Somali Health Board (SHB), promoting the work done by SHB Perinatal Committee. SHB partnered with Columbia Public Health, UW Medicine and Seattle King County Public Health to advocate and promote Centering Pregnancy, a culturally specific initiative for Somali women throughout King County.
  • A webinar on the topic of health literacy, produced by CMS' Partnership for Patients program; in this webinar the Somali Health Board showcases how they have managed to effectively work with health systems for better health outcome of the Somali population.
  • Related on EthnoMed: Perinatal Profile for Patients from Somalia written by Robin Ann Narruhn, RN.  This article presents information intended to help providers become familiar with the cultural values and historical experiences of women from Somalia and their families, as it pertains to obstetrical outcomes and providing culturally appropriate care.

The Physical and Psychological Sequelae in Adult Refugees or Asylum Seekers Who Have Survived Torture: Literature Review

By: Ashley McCulley, PA-C, MCHS

Article 5 Artwork Every year the United States (US) plays host to refugees and asylum seekers who have been uprooted from their homelands. Many of these refugees have gone through unspeakable traumas and torture. Coming to a new country can be a terrifying experience and many do not know where to turn or how to express what they have been through.  As refugees and asylum seekers are seen in clinics and emergency rooms across the country, there is an increased need for healthcare providers to understand the signs and symptoms of both the physical and psychological sequelae of torture. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the physical and psychological sequelae that occur in adult refugee or asylum seeker populations who have survived torture.

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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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Extreme Winter Weather Risks

Click here for links to translated and multimedia resources related to flooding, hypothermia, power outages and the risk and prevention of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ebola Resources

The risk of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is very minimal, but there are some resources and factsheets about Ebola in other languages and formats to help provide accurate information. Below are several resources that provide audio messages, pictoral factsheets and translated brochures about the Ebola virus.

Centers for Disease Control

Washington State Department of Health

Public Health-Seattle King County

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.

Scams Targeting Refugees and Immigrants

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provide information about common immigration services scams and other kinds of scams targeting refugees and immigrants. To find information about recent scams, tools and education about avoiding scams, and to learn what victims should do if targeted, read more...