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Resources for culturally competent care of refugees


This list has been compiled to be used in conjunction with our article "Caring for refugees" [Oct. 7, 2005], part of our Cultural Competence series.


Center for the Study of Cultural Diversity in Health Care
University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison
Facilitates the design, implementation, evaluation, and replication of culturally and linguistically competent healthcare programs to improve consumer satisfaction and health outcomes for all residents of Wisconsin.

Community Resource Bank
Center for the New American Community
National Immigration Forum
Provides information and tools to those who want to assist immigrants and better understand the process of integration.

Cross Cultural Health Care
Find a list of cultural competency assessment tools.

Cultural Orientation Resource Center
The center provides basic facts about new refugee groups arriving in the US. Its "Culture Profiles" ( provide short introductions to the cultural background of refugee populations. Also available are multilingual phrase books for use in the daily activities of American life (

SUNY Institute of Technology Peter J. Cayan Library
Find resources, both print and Web-based, on culturally competent healthcare.

Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma
Harvard School of Public Health
Training of primary care practitioners for the mental health needs of refugees.

Migration Information Source—US in Focus
Migration Policy Institute
Provides information on refugee populations in the US.

Minority Health Project
Program for Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Outcomes
University of North Carolina School of Public Health at Chapel Hill
Conducts educational programs, provides information on research and sources of data on minority health. The site maintains links to useful organizations.

National Center for Cultural Competence
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
Find a self-assessment checklist for providers of primary healthcare services.

National Center on Minority Health and Health
Conducts and supports research, training, dissemination of information, and other programs with respect to minority health conditions and other populations with health disparities. The Web site contains a listing of conferences on cross-cultural care.

Office of Minority Health Resource Center
US Department of Health and Human Services
A vast repository of cross-cultural documents, publications, audiovisual aids, organizations, programs, and funding opportunities. OMHRC's information specialists can help you find the latest journal articles about minority health topics; brochures for minority patients; minority health data; background material for use in speeches, workshops, and classroom presentations; materials to distribute at health fairs; information on minority health organizations; and schedules of upcoming minority health conferences.

Office of Refugee Resettlement
Administration for Children & Families
US Department of Health and Human Services
Find contact lists of state refugee coordinators ( and state refugee health coordinators (, as well as links to voluntary agencies ( and mutual assistance associations (

Patient and Family Education Services
University of Washington Medical Center
Find "Culture Clues"—tip sheets for clinicians—which are designed to increase awareness about concepts and preferences of patients from diverse cultures.

Physicians for Human
Publishes "The Right to Equal Treatment: An Annotated Bibliography of Studies on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, Their Causes, and Related Issues," an annotated list of peer-reviewed articles about racial and ethnic disparities in medical care.

Refugee Mental Health Program
Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Find links to refugee health and mental health Web sites.

Web sites

Assuring Cultural Competence in Health
Contains recommendations from the Office of Minority Health for national standards and an outcomes-focused research agenda on culturally competent healthcare.
A clearinghouse of information on training, standards, research, and policy to meet the language and cultural needs of minorities, immigrants, refugees, and other diverse populations seeking healthcare.
This guide to ethnic medicine is a joint project of the University of Washington Health Sciences Library and the Harborview Medical Center's Community House Calls Program. It contains information about cultural beliefs and medical and other related issues pertinent to the healthcare of immigrants and refugee groups.

HHS Fact Sheet: Eliminating Minority Health
Provides information on the US Department of Health and Human Services' initiative to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Find publications, maps, statistics, and graphics on the worldwide refugee situation.

The 24 Languages Project
Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library
University of Utah Health Sciences Center
Electronic access to over 200 health education brochures in 24 different languages.

US Committee for Refugees and
Works for refugee protection and assistance. A number of USCRI publications deal with refugee health issues such as HIV and mental health, and are available free of charge.

Government publications

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
US Department of Health and Human Services
National Healthcare Disparities Report
The body of the 2004 report—and its many tables—represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on the differences in access and use of healthcare services by various populations.

Office Of Minority Health
US Department Of Health And Human Services
Closing the Gap, a newsletter of the Office of Minority Health
Each issue is devoted to a specific health topic of concern to minority communities.

Cross-cultural training programs

Center for Cross-Cultural

Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity
Department of Family Medicine
University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Contact: Robert C. Like, MD, MS, Associate Professor and Director
Clinical cultural competency courses, workshops, and programs for practicing physicians.

Multicultural Affairs Office
Massachusetts General Hospital
Contact: Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, MPH, Director for Multicultural Education

Kari Heistad, The Culture Coach
Creative Concepts

Cross Cultural Health Care

National Center for Cultural Competence
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
Contact: Tawara Goode, Director

National MultiCultural


• At Risk in America: The Health and Health Care Needs of Vulnerable Populations in the United States (Jossey-Bass, 2001)

• Cross-Cultural Medicine (American College of Physicians, 2003)

• Cultural Competence Compendium (American Medical Association, 1999)

• Ethnic Minority Health: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography (Medical Library Association and Scarecrow Press, 1996)

• Guidance for the National Healthcare Disparities Report. Committee On Guidance for Designing a National Healthcare Disparities Report, Institute Of Medicine (The National Academies Press, 2002)

• Minority Health in America: Findings and Policy Implications from The Commonwealth Fund Minority Health Survey (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)

• Promoting Health in Multicultural Populations: A Handbook for Practitioners (Sage Publications, 1999)

• Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach (F. A. Davis, 2003)

• Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Committee On Understanding And Eliminating Racial And Ethnic Disparities In Health Care, Board On Health Sciences Policy, Institute Of Medicine (The National Academies Press, 2003)

• Welcome to the United States: A Guidebook for Refugees (Cultural Orientation Resource Center, 2004)


• Journal of Refugee Studies

• International Journal of Refugee Law

• Refugee Survey Quarterly


• "Can cultural competency reduce racial and ethnic health disparities? A review and conceptual model," Brach C and Fraser I, Medical Care Research and Review, 2000; 57(Suppl 1):181-217.

• "Cross-cultural primary care: a patient-based approach," Carillo JE, Green AR, and Betancourt JR, Annals of Internal Medicine, 1999; 130:829-834. Available free at

• "Racial and ethnic differences in access to medical diagnosis and treatment: an annotated bibliography of sentinel articles," Morehouse Medical Treatment Effectiveness Center, 1997. Available at

• "Racial and ethnic disparities in the primary care experiences of children: A review of the literature," Stevens GD, and Shi L, Medical Care Research and Review, 2003; 60(1): 3-30.

• "A selected, annotated list of materials that support the development of policies designed to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities," Donatiello JE, Droese PW, and Kim SH, Journal of the Medical Library Association, 2004; 92(2):257-265. Available free at

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