Addressing Global Health Needs among Refugee Children and Families in Durham County (2017-2018)

From July 2015 to June 2016, Durham received roughly 14% of the 3,000 refugee families resettled to North Carolina. Evidence suggests that refugee children face unique health challenges. There is a pressing need for the healthcare community to understand how best to deliver accessible physical, emotional and mental healthcare to these children in a culturally appropriate manner that also supports the parents’ wishes and values.

This team served as the pilot for an ambitious multidisciplinary effort to develop a culturally appropriate, robust healthcare model designed to help reduce health disparities among some of Durham’s newest, most vulnerable community members.

In 2017-2018, the team catalogued and assessed the most significant health needs of Durham’s refugee children and researched barriers to accessing care and how these barriers can be overcome. The team gathered and analyzed quantitative data from healthcare facilities where refugee children seek care, including emergency rooms, clinics and other community health centers. Team members also gathered qualitative data by conducting in-depth interviews and focus groups with both providers and refugees in the community.

Using this data, the team produced a needs assessment report and made policy intervention recommendations that were presented to Lincoln Community Health Center’s administrative leadership as well as its healthcare team that currently serves refugee populations and Carolina Outreach. Team members also presented a poster at the National Refugee Health Conference in Portland, OR, in June 2018.


Summer 2017 – Summer 2018

Team Outputs

Addressing Global Health Needs Among Refugee Children and Families in Durham (poster by Esther Brown, Alexandra Chan, Maram Elnagheeb, Emily Esmaili, Pranav Ganapathy, Kelly Hunter, Brandon Knettel, Tyler Lian, Rita Masese, Danielle Mayorga-Young, Melissa McGovern, Deborah Reisinger, Nathan Thielman, Kathryn Whetten, Jake Wong, Ailing Zhou); Judges’ Selection Winner and Audience Choice Runner-up at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

Examining Health Care Access for Refugee Children and Families in the North Carolina Triangle Area. Kelly Hunter, Brandon Knettel, Deborah Reisinger, Pranav Ganapathy, Tyler Lian, Jake Wong, Danielle Mayorga-Young, Ailing Zhou, Maram Elnagheeb, Melissa McGovern, Nathan Thielman, Kathryn Whetten, Emily Esmaili. 2020. North Carolina Medical Journal 81 (6): 348–54.


Danielle Mayorga-Young

This Team in the News

Finding Solutions to the World Refugee Crisis

DGHI's Unique Approach to Global Health

Global Health at Home

This Class Puts Stories at the Heart of Medicine and Health

Students in Global Displacement Class Create Video Resources for Refugees

How Can We Help Durham’s Refugee Population Access Health Services?

Bass Connections Showcase Presents Research Highlights from Durham to Malaysia

Meet the Members of the 2017-18 Student Advisory Council

In a Durham Clinic, Giving Thanks for Different Reasons

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. This project was selected by the Franklin Humanities Institute as a humanities-connected project.

Focus group

Team Leaders

  • Emily Esmaili, School of Medicine
  • Deborah Reisinger, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies
  • Nathan Thielman, School of Medicine-Medicine: Infectious Diseases
  • Kathryn Whetten, Sanford School of Public Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Rita Masese, Global Health - MSc
  • Kelly Hunter, Public Policy Studies-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Pranav Ganapathy, Economics (BS)
  • Ailing Zhou, English (AB)
  • Jake Wong, Biology (BS)
  • Danielle Mayorga-Young, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Tyler Lian, Mathematics (BS)
  • Esther Brown, Interdept CompSci/CulAnth (BS)
  • Maram Elnagheeb, Interdepartmental Major
  • Alexandra Chan, Psychology (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Brandon Knettel, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Melissa McGovern, Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Center for Child & Family Health
  • Lincoln Community Health Center
  • Church World Service (CWS)
  • NC Refugee Health Program
  • Carolina Outreach