The Greensboro Experience: A Public Health Lens on Refugee Health Disparity During a Pandemic
April 4, 2023
“The Greensboro Experience: A Public Health Lens on Refugee Health Disparity During a Pandemic” was a dynamic webinar with community and academic experts who helped create awareness of the misinformation the refugee diaspora receive about the US healthcare system, exacerbating unique health disparities combined with COVID-19 risks. Refugees are a significant part of our economy and we can no longer afford to ignore groups of people.
What did attendees gain from attending this event?
Attendees learned about the unique structural barriers refugees face around COVID-19 prevention and treatment, the current organizational and research supports provided to refugee communities in and around Greensboro, and ways in which community organizations and public health interventions can support refugee healthcare.
Speakers highlighted the wonderful work of The Greensboro Project: Many Voices, Many Stories and the community-based work they do with refugees in the Greensboro area.
What are the next steps from this event?
CCPH is committed to expanding our community partnerships to work with other minoritized communities like refugees and representatives of these communities. This webinar will inspire projects for expanding health resources in our own repository to share with community and academic partners.
How does the partners’ mission connect to the work CCPH does?
One of the event’s moderators and leaders, Chamu Shanmugam, MD, MPA Candidate 2023, tirelessly worked toward putting together this educational webinar on refugee communities in Greensboro. As a CCPH intern, Chamu is committed to equitable healthcare access and community work rooted in social justice. Thanks to her leadership, CCPH is open to explore community partnerships with the refugee population.
Watch the Recording
Juma Juma, FurTribal Chief from Darfur Sudan
A Fur Tribal Chief from Darfur, Sudan, Juma, made a 1000-mile journey, mainly by foot, over 17 years, in search of sanctuary while escaping ethnic violence. After several stops over the years, Juma reached a refugee camp in Ethiopia, met his wife, and started a family. He regards his four children as his legacy and his driving force. He dropped out of a Master’s in Geology program at the Ethiopian refugee camp to support his family. Juma believes strongly in securing his children’s future.
In conversation, Juma describes his involvement as a community leader addressing public health issues within the refugee camp to deal with HIV prevention, rehabilitation of disabled people, and prevention of vision loss. This reflects his roots as a tribal chief – he makes sure all the families around him (both at the refugee camps and in Greensboro) are safe, fed, and well. He finds jobs and safe homes for others.
Satta Sedi-Johnson, Community Health Worker, Montagnard Dega Association
Satta Sedi-Johnson represents the Liberian Community as a Community Health Worker (CHW) at the Montagnard Dega Association. Satta helps immigrants and refugees with public assistance, Medicaid, and ACA enrollment. She assists with COVID educational outreach, vaccine clinics, and vaccine appointments for community members in the City of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Satta works at the Family Service of Piedmont as a Shelter Facilitator in the Department of Victim Service, providing support to victims of domestic violence (women and children). Satta has 15 years of experience working with Grassroots Organizations in Liberia and the US. Satta serves as the Executive Member of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) for the City of Greensboro. A liaison between the City and the International Community sharing resources with our immigrants and refugee populations. She volunteers with several nonprofits to provide support for community members.
Million Mekennon, MA, Economics
Executive Director of the North Carolina African Services Coalition
Million Mekonnen, originally from Ethiopia, went to North Carolina State and received a Master’s in Economics. He moved to Greensboro in 2010 and joined the North Carolina African Services Coalition. Million has been with the agency since then and has served in different capacities. In 2014, he joined IMPACT Greensboro, a leadership incubator. He is an IMPACT change agent’14 and was a “poverty” dialogue group member. Million was also a member of the community working team that advocated for a Welcoming City. Accordingly, the Greensboro City Council unanimously voted in April 2014, and Greensboro became a Welcoming City.
Sharon Morrison, MSPH, Ph.D.
Dept. of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Dr. Sharon D. Morrison is a Professor in the Department of Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) and a Research Fellow with the Center for New North Carolinians at UNCG. She is a community-engaged scholar whose teaching, interdisciplinary research, and service are focused on immigrant, and refugee social integration, cultural adaptation, health, and empowerment in the U.S. Her most recent projects include refugee older adult social and health-related needs and local immigrant and refugee community mobilization and responses to COVID-19, and mental health challenges. She is a founding member of the Montagnard/Asian Community Disparities Research Network. Dr. Morrison was a member of the national COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) African American/Black Expert panel, organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH. She is a co-recipient of the 2019 Community Impact and Outcomes Award from the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and the 2021 Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for tenured faculty at UNCG.
- Chamu Shanmugam, MD, MPH Candidate, CCPH MSI HUB Intern
- Kunga Denzongpa, Ph.D., MPH, CCPH Evaluation Specialist