Refugee Health Outreach Programs

Refugee Health Outreach Programs are a collection of student-led and student-managed community service learning medical education programs including the Refugee Health Initiative, Gateway Program and Community Service Learning.

They bring together students, physicians, community partners, and refugees in order to build and strengthen the capacity of future physicians working in intercultural situations, and participate in resettlement of refugees in collaborating with community organizations.

Programs are run by student leaders in their preclinical training. Most begin involvement with the program in their first year as participants and proceed to lead programs in future years in order to:

  • support newly arrived refugees in their first year of resettlement and help families navigate the barriers that prevent integration;
  • provide cultural competency and other relevant training to medical students interested in learning how to practice medicine within a global context as future healthcare providers, leaders, and scholars
  • work collaboratively with community partners to fill needs such as health care literacy, which are not currently being addressed by other program mandates.

Core values:

  • Community service: the program is community-based, by identifying and responding to community needs
  • Advocacy: the program enables future physicians to build up their understanding of issues facing newcomers to Canada in order to become better advocates for their future patients’ needs
  • Communication: the program strives to develop tools to implement or support successful initiatives in other cities across Canada, and strives to maintain open lines of communication between all community partners
  • Collaboration: The program is entirely based upon collaboration by our different partners

Description of the Ottawa Refugee Health Outreach Programs

Both the Refugee Health Initiative and the Community Service Learning program are run by the same group of senior pre-clinical medical students.

Innovative Program Components

  • Nutrition Program
  • Refugee Health Passport
  • The Interpreter Program
  • Mental Health Narrative Exposure Therapy