North American Refugee Health Conference 2022

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The NRC-RIM team will hold sessions at the 2022 North American Refugee Health Conference (NARHC) in Cleveland, OH from June 23 - 25 on health communications and public health preparedness for refugee, immigrant and migrant communities.

These presentations at the 2022 North American Refugee Health Conference provide a space to reflect on lessons learned from NRC-RIM's work on COVID-19 preparedness, and highlight tools & resources, and learnings that the project can carry into future public health responses.


Thursday, June 23, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.


The National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants and (and Human-Centered Design non-profit studio) have collaborated with refugee, immigrant and migrant communities across the United States to develop services that support COVID-19 vaccine confidence among key populations including mothers and young people. We hope to lead a 60 minute workshop consisting of a series of reflections on practices to empower community leaders to design and lead the implementation of campaigns and services that address vaccine misinformation in their communities to design and lead the implementation of Additionally, we’d like to demonstrate the open source tools public health organizations can customize to spark hyper-local engagement around the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Arun Headshot

Ridhi Arun, MS | | LinkedIn

As Program Manager at, Ridhi brings her experience in design program management and passion for refugee health and rights to support the development of community-led solutions for refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities related to COVID-19. Prior to, Ridhi worked with Partnerships for Trauma Recovery, a non-profit that provides mental health services for refugees and asylum-seekers who have resettled in the Bay Area.

Claudia Sosa Lazo

Claudia Sosa Lazo, MBA | | LinkedIn

As a Business Design Lead at, Claudia blends tangibility with inspiration to help teams create meaningful solutions that scale, and leads the Vaccine Confidence program work with this lens. Claudia previously worked as Head of Design and Research at Wave Money, a fast-growing financial technology company based in Southeast Asia.

Syreeta Wilkins

Syreeta Wilkins, MA | NRC-RIM | LinkedIn

Syreeta is the communications strategist for the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants (NRC-RIM), where she leads the communications efforts for the center as well as guides the creation and dissemination of health communications materials. Before joining the team NRC-RIM, Syreeta spent more than a decade leading communications for K-12 public schools.


Thursday, June 23, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.


Working in the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for refugee health providers, but listening sessions with staff can help. There are simple steps to listen to each other and provide appropriate support. The session features an interactive self-care guide and a facilitators' guide on self-care and listening sessions. Available for free at, this module was completed by 426 participants across 36 states in the first year. Overall, 93% of those completing the module responded that they feel other responders are having similar experiences as them, and qualitative feedback was consistently positive. 

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Define specific stressors and coping mechanisms common among refugee health providers during the pandemic
  2. Describe self-care tips and resilience factors from CDC and other health professionals that are targeted toward this work
  3. Outline how supervisors can conduct listening sessions with peers and staff, and identify key tools and resources for support

Nathan Bertelsen | NRC-RIM

Hawthorne Smith | NYU School of Medicine 

Thursday, June 23, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.


The National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM) is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Organization for Migration to support health departments and community organizations working with refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. NRC-RIM is advised by a Community Leadership Board of 14 community leaders from RIM communities around the US.


Sheeba Shafaq | NRC-RIM

Nadege Mudenge | NRC-RIM

Julieta Altamirano-Crosby | NRC-RIM

Wynfred Russell| NRC-RIM

Leela Nath Kuikel | NRC-RIM

Sayyeda Karim | NRC-RIM

Thursday, June 23, 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.


The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM) with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), supports 23 local health departments (LHDs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) collaborations across the US. The goal of these collaborations is to build sustainable public health responses with refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. By strengthening partnerships with RIM communities, and collaboratively designing and implementing sustainable approaches to reduce COVID-19 infections, the program is intended to identify and enhance best practices to bolster public health efforts with marginalized communities during and beyond COVID-19.


Kalikidan Gizaw, LMSW | NACCHO

Erin Mann, MPH | NRC-RIM

Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, MD, MPH | University of Washington

Michelle Weinberg, MD, MPH | CDC

Sarah Kuech, MPH RN | CDC

Megan Keaveney, MPH | CDC

Friday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Plenary session

Dr. Dawson-Hahn is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of General Pediatrics at the University of Washington, an Attending Physician at Harborview Medical Center, and a Principal Investigator at the Seattle Children's Research Institute. She is a Medica Advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Immigrant, Refugee, Migrant Health Branch and the UN - International Organization for Migration. She is External Faculty at NRC-RIM at the University of Minnesota where she leads the Qualitative Team. Beth leads the health-equity focused Migration Health, Resilience and Multilingual Research Collaborative where her community and public health partnered research and program development primarily focuses on children in immigrant and refugee families across the migration continuum.

She believes strongly in amplifying and creating space for community leadership. She co-leads the Refugee Health Promotion Project at Harborview Medical Center where she cares for medically complex refugee children shortly after arrival. She volunteers for the Northwest Health and Human Rights Project conducting asylum evaluations. Beth grew up in a rural community in northern NY and she prioritizes mentoring first generation students and those who are new to academia.


Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, MD, MPH | University of Washington

Friday, June 24, 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.


The COVID-19 pandemic had an inequitable and disproportionate impact on health among refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities. Our goal was to understand and amplify immigrant community perspectives from the pandemic.


Yesenia Garcia, BA | NRC-RIM

Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Health departments and health systems across North America face challenges in understanding how to partner with refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities and meet their specific needs. Qualitative interviews are one effective method for gathering in-depth data about community attitudes, practices, and health-related gaps. Qualitative interviews present opportunities as well as challenges and should be developed mindfully, in partnership with communities, to maximize their usefulness for health research and program improvement.


Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, MD, MPH | University of Washington

Yesenia Garcia, BA | NRC-RIM

Diego de Acosta, PhD | NRC-RIM

Saturday, June 25, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Pediatric COVID-19 vaccination protects families and prevents disruption to education. While many immigrant communities have high rates of COVID-19 vaccine interest, they face unwarranted barriers to vaccination. For these reasons, we sought to identify promising practices for COVID-19 vaccine programs serving immigrant children.

We interviewed key informants from 16 organizations recruited if they offered or facilitated access to COVID019 vaccines for immigrant children ages 12-15 years and had served immigrant communities during influenza or prior COVID-19 vaccine campaigns. Interviews were completed after emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12+ years. Interviews explored operational strategies for vaccine outreach, education, and access for immigrant children. 


Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, MD, MPH

Kimberly Yu, MPH

Yesenia Garcia, BA

Jennifer Rueda

Christine M. Thomas, DO

Seja Abudiab, MD

Diego de Acosta, PhD

Windy M. Fredkove, PhD, MSN, RN

Sarah J. Hoffman, PhD, MPH, RN

Sayyeda Karim, BS

M. Kumi Smith, MPIA, PhD

Erin Mann, MPH

Katherine Yun, MD MHS