USA—Immigrant and Refugee Health in California
- Excursions and Day Trips
- Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk
- About California
- Weather and Climate
This program offers unique insight into the intersections of health, health policy, civil society, and advocacy as they relate to vulnerable populations in the Bay Area and Central Valley. Students will broaden their understanding of determinants of health and develop competencies in health and public health, all while immersing in our local communities and learning from inspiring local efforts to address pressing health and socioeconomic challenges.
In the Bay Area, students will explore health and health services for vulnerable populations through visits, discussions, and community-engagement activities that include an introduction to the social model of health and an overview of vulnerable populations in the Bay Area with emphasis on services and programs for immigrant and refugee communities. Students will also explore human rights, health policy, and social justice through engagement with organizations focused on advocacy and social change through art, and legal and research centers focused on these issues.
In the Central Valley, students will focus on themes of health services for migrant communities and health policy, as well as sexual and reproductive health, vulnerable youth, and trafficking. Students will learn from engagement with local community health workers and promotoras in community-based and educational settings.
Bay Area: students are responsible for their own housing during the 2-week Bay Area portion of the program. Students will be responsible for arriving at a designated meeting point each morning to begin daily activities.
Central Valley: students will stay in a local home or guesthouse in the Fresno area for 10-12 nights and will stay at a small Inn in the town of Firebaugh for the concluding 2-4 nights of the program.
Bay Area: students are responsible for their own meals during the 2-week Bay Area portion of the program. CFHI will organize and provide one weekly reflection meal per week.
Central Valley: two meals or meal stipends per day will be provided during this portion of the program.
Public Health, relevant cultural/historical site visits and activities, and NGO/school placements and site visits will start on Monday after arrival (orientation sessions take place on Sunday after arrival) and usually take place in the mornings for 4 to 6 hours on Monday through Friday for the remaining four weeks. Some activities will take the full day, and activities will occasionally be scheduled on weekends.
Once per week, students will meet with the Program Coordinators to discuss their experiences. A lecture on a health related topics will also be provided by the Coordinator or arranged with other local experts. Students can use this time to discuss particular issues of interest, review their progress or bring up any concerns they may have.
Program sites include but are not limited to the following activities. Note that due to patient confidentiality laws, interaction with health facilities may consist of site visits, tours, on-site discussion, and/or observational shadowing:
State and NGO funded clinics serving refugees and immigrants
Various clinics providing affordable medical care and health education and affiliate services for immigrants, asylees, refugees, and victims of trafficking. Additional programs offer free and low-cost healthcare services specifically to uninsured individuals.
Day Labor Programs
Offering services and advocacy/organizing support to ensure fair pay and treatment for immigrant workers.
Legal services network & Law Clinics
A network of partnering organizations that represent immigrants, offering free legal assistance and community education to low-income families.
Human Service Agencies, Department of Public Health
Offering public health services, job training, food, cash assistance, protection and safety from abuse, childcare, housing/shelter, health insurance, and other care/support for families and individuals lacking economic security.
Refugee Resettlement Programs
Assisting refugee families to become self-sufficient through services centered around developing life, job, English, and other skills.
University-based policy and research centers
San Francisco based institutions of higher education research, apply, and evaluate solutions to public health challenges. The focus is on strong community partnerships and connecting academic research, health policy, and community interventions.
Street revitalization projects, family-centered NGOs
Endeavoring to revitalize neighborhoods with high concentration of poverty through engagement with youth and families, create reproductive justice, food security, address teen pregnancy, and end sex trafficking. These NGOs offer health education, counseling, and support services for vulnerable populations.
Rape Counseling Center
Offers 24/7 rape crisis response for low-income and primarily LatinX survivors of sexual violence.
Public High School
Serving a small, primarily LatinX town, this high school is a hub for community engagement, with teachers and administrators focused on educational opportunities (especially higher education) for students, and includes a newly-launched school clinic.
Promotoras offer primary care as well as key information and insight to LatinX communities in the greater Fresno area. They are trusted community members and often do health promotion work as volunteers. In addition to offering health information, Promotoras offer a crucial support service to inform community members about how to navigate the healthcare system with medical/medicare, no insurance, and other scenarios.
Short excursions and day trips will be included throughout the program, integrated within the program to highlight the linkages between health, determinants of health, policy, art, advocacy, and more.
- Welcome dinner at local restaurant
- Food security activities (urban/rural comparative)
- Tour and discussion of “Precita Eyes” mural
- Dance class
- Glide Memorial celebration and service learning activity
- Site visits, lectures, discussions, and service-learning/community engagement activities at over 15 nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, clinics/hospitals, government offices, and more in the Bay Area and Central Valley
- Weekly journal club meeting and discussion
- Weekly “team” reflection meeting
Bay Area: The San Francisco Bay Area encompasses a bonanza of natural vistas and wildlife. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County and visit wizened ancient redwoods body-blocking the sun and herds of elegant tule elk prancing along the bluffs of Tomales Bay. Gray whales show some fluke off the cape of the wind-scoured Point Reyes peninsula, while hawks surf the skies in the shaggy hills of the Marin Headlands. Source: Lonely Planet.
Central Valley: The Central Valley is visible from space – a vast expanse of green between the Sierra Nevada and Pacific Ocean. The area is divided in two parts: the Sacramento Valley in the north and the San Joaquin Valley in the south. For millennia, the rivers cutting through these valleys flooded seasonally, creating extremely fertile soil. Today, those waterways are tamed by mighty public works projects that support massive agricultural endeavors. Half the produce in the US is grown in these valleys – including almost every almond, olive and bulb of garlic. Source: Lonely Planet.