Background: The Roanoke area resettles approximately 200 refugees per year. Pediatricians and dentists who treat this population have observed several health disparities in this community along with a lack of retention of medical care. Despite these observations, little has been done to overcome barriers to consistent care. Formal baseline health assessments for refugee and immigrant children could potentially better guide local refugee and immigrant health and create sustainable relationships between these communities. Objective: This survey aims to collect information from the refugee and immigrant populations to better understand the health disparities present in the community. This information will help focus future efforts to improve healthcare initiatives among these patients. Design/Methods: The target population was reached by partnering with organizations with established relationships with the local refugees and immigrant communities. Anonymous surveys were distributed to collect data on health care and safety practices following a health fair held for refugee and immigrant families. Questions from the survey originated from validated screening tools including: Assessment of Knowledge and Attitude and Practice of Parents about Immunization, The Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) Parent Questionnaire, Oral Health Behavior Questionnaire, and Accountable Health Communities Core Health-Related Social Needs Screening. Questions were modified to focus on oral health, safety, comprehension of immunizations, and nutrition. These were translated into the participant’s native language by a validated translation service. Results: Survey respondents included twenty family members with an average household of five from the following countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, Nepal, Sudan, Congo, and Somali. All families acknowledged brushing their teeth on average twice per day. However, 57.9% of subjects (11/19) did not have access to a dentist even though 84% (16/19) admitted to understanding that children should visit a dentist twice per year. All participants reported drinking bottled water. All participants stated they had a working smoke detector in their home, however only 20% (4/20) knew the number for poison control. Lastly, only 15% (3/20) claimed to have chosen not to vaccinate their children due to reasons including allergies and insurance. Conclusion: Refugee families in our area are aware of the importance of appropriate oral health practices, however many lack appropriate resources to adequately maintain healthy dentition. These surveys also highlighted hesitancy of drinking tap water, thus limiting refugee children’s access to fluoridated water. Further, safety education for families should focus on knowledge of local resources. Lastly, these surveys indicate that many refugee families have not chosen to opt out of vaccinations. Overall, these results demonstrate the need to address access to adequate oral health care, a cultural shift toward drinking tap water, and need for improved safety awareness. This data will enable future efforts to better aid the refugee and immigrant population targeted to their needs.
Addressing Oral Health, Safety, Under-immunization, and Nutrition in the Local Refugee and Immigrant Communities (OSHUN)
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Dakota Z. Buhrman, Vaishnavi Sridhar, Meredith Rahman, Miranda Gerrard, Vydia Permashwar; Addressing Oral Health, Safety, Under-immunization, and Nutrition in the Local Refugee and Immigrant Communities (OSHUN). Pediatrics July 2020; 146 (1_MeetingAbstract): 574. 10.1542/peds.146.1MA6.574a
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