In its third year, the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants (NRC-RIM) is focusing on Afghan and Ukrainian new arrivals with $13.5M in new funding from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to address the public health needs in these communities.
While initially funded as part of the nation’s COVID-19 response, NRC-RIM is now poised to expand its efforts to additional public health initiatives that may be needed in Afghan communities. NRC-RIM’s work to support Ukrainian new arrivals will focus on developing and disseminating health communications related to health requirements for Ukrainian humanitarian parolees. NRC-RIM will also continue its COVID-19 work on a smaller scale in other immigrant communities disproportionately affected by health inequities.
Since it was established in October 2020, NRC-RIM has become nationally known for excellence in public health preparedness and response, and in fostering partnerships that make a real difference in the communities. “This new funding will allow NRC-RIM to continue to create and promote crucial health information in refugee and immigrant communities that improves the health of newcomers,” said Erin Mann, MPH, co-principal investigator of NRC-RIM.
More than 88,000 Afghans fled to the United States after the Taliban assumed control of the government in August 2021, and more than 82,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the United States since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. These new arrival groups join significant diaspora communities that have spent decades building community in their new country and have influenced public health systems.
“Afghan and Ukrainian new arrival communities have come to the United States in a time of crisis, and they have shown they have the capacity to lead,” said Mann. “Our job is to support health departments and others who are committed to working with them in partnership on public health solutions.”
Much of the new funding will support NRC-RIM’s partners, such as the International Rescue Committee, which plans to work with NRC-RIM to implement activities in 10 offices around the country. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is finalizing similar plans. “NRC-RIM would not be successful without the strategic and innovative work of our partners on the ground,” said William Stauffer, MD, co-principal investigator of NRC-RIM.
The funding will also allow NRC-RIM to leverage and build upon an existing partnership between the University of Minnesota and IOM that aims to strengthen the capacity of health care providers abroad to address medical needs of migrating refugees with a focus on Afghan new arrivals.
Since October 2020, NRC-RIM has been funded by the CDC and IOM, and housed at the University of Minnesota. NRC-RIM exists to support health departments and community organizations working with refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities that have been disproportionately affected by health inequities. During its successful first two years, NRC-RIM’s work reached all 50 states and 175 countries.