Title

Can Academic Medicine Lead the Way in the Refugee Crisis?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

12-1-2016

Journal

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

Volume

91

Issue

12

Inclusive Pages

1595-1597

DOI

10.1097/ACM.0000000000001427

Abstract

The world is currently in the midst of the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with the highest interval of mass displacement in recorded history according to the United Nations. The United States has pledged to maintain its position as one of the world's top resettlement countries in response to this crisis. These new immigrants will arrive with exceptional chronic and acute medical needs, including higher rates of behavioral health disorders. The author describes the health care challenges experienced by refugees seeking asylum in the United States and outlines the ways in which our health care system is currently deficient in helping refugee patients to overcome these challenges. He argues that the academic medical community can change this dynamic by standardizing and expanding instruction in cross-cultural competence and behavioral health screenings throughout the spectrum of medical education. Ensuring the long-term well-being of refugees in the United States, including meeting their mental health needs, will be the best inoculation against the risks of violent extremism which so many fear. With the absence of national leadership on this issue, academic medicine can and should lead the way.

Peer Reviewed

1

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