Register for Switchboard's Webinar on September 10

Cultural Competence in Refugee Service Settings: What Does the Research Tell Us?
Thursday, September 10, 2020, 2:00-3:15PM ET

What will this webinar cover? Refugees have unique, complex needs and strengths related to their cultural backgrounds and experiences of forced displacement and resettlement. Most of us are familiar with the term “cultural competence” and the importance of culturally appropriate services when working to support refugee clients. But providing culturally appropriate services is often complicated by unclear definitions and a lack of practical guidance.This webinar will share the findings of an original literature review on the topic of cultural competence in refugee service settings, highlighting key concepts and approaches described by refugee service providers and organizations. A Q&A session will provide an opportunity to hear the perspectives of practitioners working with refugee and immigrant communities.

Is this webinar for me? This webinar is aimed at front-line and management staff of organizations serving refugees and immigrants who are looking to better understand the evidence base related to cultural competence and culturally appropriate services for refugee communities. It will also be relevant for health care providers (including clinicians and mental health professionals) serving refugee patients, and for academics and students with research interests in cultural competence.

Why should I attend? By the end of this 75-minute session, you will be able to:  

  • Describe the importance of cultural competence in refugee service settings;
  • Summarize what the research says about cultural competence, including: how it is defined, criticisms of cultural competence, and the importance of an enabling organizational and structural environment; and
  • Identify key individual- and organization-level approaches to culturally competent service provision.

Ling San Lau, MBBS, MPH is Senior Program Officer, Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. She is a pediatric physician and global health professional with experience in pediatric hospitals in Australia and field experience in Zimbabwe, Jordan, Nepal, and indigenous Australian communities. San was the lead author of a Nature Medicine commentary advocating for the needs of displaced populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Isabelle Darling is Clinical Lead Mental Health Consultant at the National Partnership for Community Training. Isabelle has over 15 years’ experience working within non-profit and government sectors. She has designed tools and facilitated trainings and courses on community leadership, mental health programming, and cultural awareness for national and global audiences including the Office of Refugee Resettlement, International Rescue Committee, HIAS, International Social Development, and the Harvard Program on Refugee Trauma.       

Meheria Habibi is Senior Program Officer at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Meheria joined the IRC Tucson office in 2002 as Interpreter. She came to the United States as a refugee with her mother and sister in 2001. She has held different positions at IRC Tucson, as Extended Services Case Manager, Senior Caseworker for Medical, Resettlement Supervisor, and was promoted to the Senior Program Manager position to provide general oversight and leadership to all of IRC Tucson’s service areas. 

Michael Wessells, Ph.D. is Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he is former Co-Chair of the IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. Recently, he was co-focal point on mental health and psychosocial support for the revision of the Sphere humanitarian standards. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of child protection and psychosocial support.


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Date published: 

Friday, 28 August 2020