Heartland Health Outreach Refugee Health Programs (RHP) provides culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach services to the meet the health and nutrition education needs of newly arriving refugees.
Refugees and immigrants must overcome numerous challenges in their resettlement. They adjust to life in the United States while they deal with the trauma of their past experiences. Refugees also face serious nutritional risks before arrival, including undiagnosed chronic diseases, a lack of food diversity and poor feeding practices. Lastly, upon resettlement in the United States refugees are confronted with an abundance of cheap, fatty foods and a sedentary way of life. These environmental and lifestyle changes put refugees at additional health risk.
Through a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health (with funds from the Office on Refugee Resettlement, US Department of Health and Human Services), RHP:
- Trains health promoters,
- Conducts educational workshops for newly arrived refugees,
- Provides nutrition counseling and clinical services, and
- Develops and disseminates multilingual health material
The program cooperates with five resettlement agencies, two health clinics and other community partners. Refugee Health Programs has partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago, Library of Health Sciences to expand access to multilingual health education resources on the internet. Other components of our community outreach include a monthly cooking group, a community gardening project, and group outings to sites all over the city.
Refugee Health and Adjustment Task-Force
Refugee Health Programs coordinates a coalition of refugee resettlement agencies, health centers, and other community-based refugee service agencies who meet bi-monthly to discuss and address emerging health issues facing refugees. The RHAT-force seeks to be an advocate for refugee services and resettlement in a bleak and competitive political climate.
In addition to the Illinois Department of Public Health, our partners in health include the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/Greater Midwest Region, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Healthy Roads Media, and the Office of Women’s Health, Region V, of the U.S. Department of health and Human Services, and the Chicago Public Library.