Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home

Features: June/July 2018

For the Health and Well-being of Immigrant Children:  A Statement from the Northwest Immigrant and Refugee Health Coalition

It is critical for those of us charged with the well-being of children and families to speak out for their protection, as we have been reminded this week by the zero-tolerance policy separating and detaining families. We are a Washington State coalition of health professionals and public health practitioners; whose mission is to advocate and care for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The forceful separation of children from parents and the recent relocation of some of these children and parents to Washington State makes this national crisis also a local concern.

We call for the federal and local government to follow the recent recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the Detention of Immigrant Children:

  1. Even in cases where temporary detention and repatriation is deemed necessary, the nurturing relationship with parents and trusted caregivers should never be violated unless there are concerns for the safety of the child.
  2. Eliminate exposure to conditions or settings that may re-traumatize children, such as those that currently exist in detention or detention itself.
  3. Children should not be subjected to these facilities because conditions at CBP Processing Centers are inconsistent with AAP recommendations for the appropriate care and treatment of children.
  4. Processing of children and family units should occur in a child friendly manner, taking place outside of current CBP processing centers or conducted by child welfare professionals to provide conditions that emphasize the health and well-being at this critical stage of immigration proceedings.

Additional recommendations include the provision of community-based alternatives to detention, case management, regular medical evaluations and trauma informed mental health care.

As Americans,we are most proud of our moments when we uphold the values of equality,tolerance, and compassion. We expect these qualities to be reflected in our immigration policy, especially with regard to children. The zero-tolerance policy is the antithesis of the “better angels of our nature” that President Lincoln envisaged our country to champion. As health professionals and public health practitioners it is our responsibility to hold everyone accountable to the fact that when it comes to children and families we must “first do no harm”.

Visit the NWIRHC website to add your name to this statement


Discussing Measles and MMR Vaccine with Your Somali Patients

Measles Infographic CDC
Image source:

Although techniques regarding how to discuss vaccines with vaccine hesitant parents as described in the literature remain relevant, there are additional considerations in the Somali community. Understanding what has led the Somali community to be wary of the MMR vaccine is critical to knowing how to approach the conversation in the clinic setting.

Dr. Anisa Ibrahim provides background information regarding concerns that arose in the Somali community about autism, and specific recommendations for providers regarding how to approach the conversation about measles and MMR vaccine with patients. 

Includes link to factsheet about measles in Somali language from Public Health-Seattle & King County

Read more... 

CCMs_videoCommunity House Calls Program Videos

New videos highlight the work of Harborview's patient navigator program and caseworker / cultural mediator staff helping LEP patients from other cultures navigate the health care system.

See videos... 

Summer Safety

sun imageSummer safety issues include heat-related illnesses, sun exposure, water safety concerns, and use of fireworks or concern about fire.  Extremely hot weather can cause sickness or even death.

Who is at highest risk for heat-related illness:

  • Older adults
  • Young children
  • People with mental illness and chronic diseases
  • Athletes who exercise outdoors
  • Outdoor workers
  • People experiencing homelessness 

During very hot weather:

  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors twice a day
  • Stay cool and avoid direct contact with the sun
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and don't wait until you're thirsty to drink more
  • NEVER LEAVE INFANTS, children or pets in a parked car
  • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Seek medical care immediately 

Below are a few sites that provide information on this topic in other languages or audio/visual formats:

Health Reach: 
"Heat Waves" (Arabic, Bosnian, Somali, Spanish) and "Heat Exhaustion" (Creole, Spanish)

Health Information Translations: "Sun Safety Tips", (Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish)

MedlinePlus:   "Sun Exposure" (Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish)

Public Health: Seattle & King County:  "Hot Weather and How To Stay Cool", (Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese)

Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Seattle: Safety and Injury Prevention materials, some other languages.  

Washington State Department of Health:   "Hot Weather Safety", (Chinese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukranian, Vietnamese, and large type)

FaviconjpegQuick Links:

Tests / Procedures Radiology Communication Phrases Translated
LTBI Treatment
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.

EthnoMed Newsletter & Twitter

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter to receive updates about what's new. Read more...

Follow EthnoMed on Twitter twitter

Make A Gift

Donations made to the EthnoMed Community Outreach Fund support the development of this website and creation of its educational content. Please consider making a gift online. Read more...

Refugee Health Weekly Roundup

This summary is compiled by the Washington State Department of Health Refugee Health Program. The Weekly Roundup highlights upcoming events and opportunities, resources and news relevant to refugee health. Some information is local to WA, but also what's on the national agenda. Read the latest edition of the Refugee Health Roundup.

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.