Health Equity for Afghan Refugees (HEAR): Generating and Using Evidence to Align MultiSector Organizations with the Priorities of Afghan Refugees
In August 2021, more than 75,000 Afghan refugees were evacuated to the United States during the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Supporting refugees and migrants can be challenging even with advanced planning. In this case, federal, state, and county government agencies, resettlement organizations, and community organizations worked on short notice to address the needs of Afghan refugees. Given the scale of resettlement, strong organizational collaboration and aligned efforts are needed across the many organizations facilitating and supporting resettlement.
Backed by the AIR Equity Initiative, AIR is working with partners to help multisector organizations collaborate more effectively and advance health equity for Afghan refugees. AIR’s partners on this project, Church World Service (CWS) and the Muslim Community Center Medical Clinic (MCC-Medical Clinic), are instrumental voices on the project’s leadership team.
We are using innovative qualitative research and capacity-building in our development of the HEAR Learning Network—a learning community of 11 resettlement agencies, community organizations, and health care providers that are supporting Afghan refugees as they resettle and integrate in Maryland and Virginia. We convened the HEAR Learning Network to build capacity among organizations wanting to align their resettlement efforts with other organizations working in this space.
Research and capacity building efforts to date include:
- Conducting an environmental scan, key informant interviews, and focus groups to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing organizations supporting resettlement as they work to align their efforts and build sustainable partnerships with other organizations working to support refugee resettlement; and
- Conducting six interviews over 18 months with eight Afghan refugees to learn about their resettlement experience, using a modified ethnographic approach.
Coupled with the practical experiences and expertise of HEAR Learning Network participants, our research covering the continuum of refugee needs as they resettle will inform the HEAR project’s strategic recommendations for policy makers and practitioners.