Date of Defense:
April 22, 2013
Due to long – term political conflict, over one million people have fled Somalia to countries around the world, including the United States. Numerous studies have shown that Somali refugees confront barriers to healthcare utilization in the United States. This paper presents program evaluation data collected during the first year of operations (September 2011 to August 2012) at the Health Commons at Darul Quba. The Health Commons is a conveniently located, informal, drop – in center in Minneapolis, Minnesota that serves Somali and other East African immigrants . This paper discusses these data in th e context of culturally appropriate care for Somali immigrants in the United States.
Nurses collected data on data sheets during individual drop – in center visits and during Health Common’s classes. Data show that the Health Commons had, in the opinion of the author, a successful first year of operations. There were over 500 individual visits and over 1,100 class visits. Individual visitors to the Health Commons were primarily adult and elderly women. When asked what individual visitors learned or how they may change their behavior as a result of visiting the Health Commons, visitors most often stated that they learned about healthy eating and exercise. Class data was inconsistently collected. The G.I.R.L.S. program had the most consistent class attendance and data collection. Parenting class surveys indicated a high level of satisfaction with the class. The Health Commons could improve their program evaluation efforts by consistently and accurately collecting data, especially class data. The facility may consider improving programming by reaching out to men and children, conducting community outreach, and having childcare available during classes.
If the Health Commons’ continues to display successful results, other locations with high populations of East African immigrants might consider implementing a model similar to the Health Commons. The public health implications of this project could include revolutionizing health outreach and health education in Somali and other immigrant communities, and reducing health disparities in these populations.