UNMC students offer free health screenings March 31 to Omaha area refugees

The 2nd Annual Refugee Health Fair will be held on Saturday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Yates Community Center, 3260 Davenport St.

The 2nd Annual Refugee Health Fair will be held on Saturday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Yates Community Center, 3260 Davenport St.

The event, which is open to refugees living in the Omaha area, is sponsored by the Bridge to Care Refugee Program, a student-run organization coordinated by the Service Learning Academy in the UNMC College of Public Health.

Free health screenings will include blood glucose, blood pressure, vision, dental, growth and development. Information also will be available on HIV/AIDS, vaccinations and immunizations, prescription medication counseling, physician-patient communication and Medicaid services. The goal is to make these services known to refugees and to assist in creating a linkage to care with the organizations present.  

“For refugees from war zones, basic things like where to get their children immunized and what over-the-counter drugs are effective, can be a mystery,” said Thu Hong Bui, a second-year pharmacy student and president of Bridge to Care. “There are 42 million people uprooted by war. Once in America, refugees must cope with an unfamiliar culture and a foreign language.”

In the past decade, refugees have resettled in Omaha from Sudan, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Burma and Bhutan. The International Center of the Heartland estimates there are up to 15,000 Sudanese (the largest group in the United States) and about 5,000 each of Somali and Burmese in Omaha.

For the past two years, more than 135 UNMC students have helped more than 1,000 refugees from eight different countries through the program. The initiative brings together students and community leaders, health care providers and organizations to assess needs, aid in understanding the health care system, and improve cultural awareness among community health care providers and students. Students gain experience in caring for the growing refugee population so they can effectively serve the communities.

Others involved in the event include Creighton Florence Clinic, United Healthcare Medicaid, One World Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood Southern Sudan Community Association and Lutheran Family Services. The event is supported by the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services Office of Health Disparities & Health Equity and UNMC.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.


Vicky Cerino
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-5190