New York State Health Foundation

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Immigrant and Refugee Health

New York is home to more than 4 million immigrants who comprise approximately one-quarter of the State’s population and who speak more than 100 different languages. Language barriers can greatly impede health care access for immigrants by creating difficulty in communicating with care providers and interpreting treatment options and instructions. Low-income immigrants may also face ongoing difficulty affording health care or coverage. Moreover, the estimated 625,000 New Yorkers who are undocumented immigrants are not permitted to purchase health insurance coverage through the NY State of Health Marketplace, even using their own money. 

Refugee populations face additional difficulties surrounding their health and health care. Roughly 3,000–5,000 refugees resettle throughout New York State each year, many in the greater Buffalo, Rochester, and Utica areas. Although they come from different parts of the world, many of these refugees share the same health risks: inadequate medical care in their home countries; undetected or untreated disease; exposure to torture and terrorism; poverty; and language barriers.

Learn more about some of the initiatives NYSHealth has supported in this area:

Asian American Federation of New York
Planning Grant: Addressing Asian American Mental Health Needs in New York City

Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs
Connecting Undocumented New Yorkers to Coverage: Media and Education Campaign

Community Service Society of New York
Exploring Coverage Options for Undocumented New York State Residents

South Asian Council for Social Services
  •   Health Enrollment Project
  •   Health Enrollment Project Renewal

Urban Health Plan, Inc.
  •  Enrollment Assistance Network Renewal
  •  Outreach and Enrollment

Henry Street Settlement
  •   Supporting a Health Insurance Enrollment Network in NY State
  •   Health Insurance Enrollment Network 

Make the Road New York
  •  Health Navigator Project
  •  Increasing Immigrant Enrollment in Public Insurance Programs Through Targeted Education, Outreach, and Direct Assistance in 10 Languages
  •  Health Insurance Enrollment Project

Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
  •  Consumer Assistance for New York State Health Benefit Exchange—Chinese Outreach and Enrollment
  •  Building Primary Care Capacity in Queens
  •  New York State of Health Consumer Assistance Project

Health and Welfare Council of Long Island
  •  Expanding HWCLI's Health Exchange Network to the East End
  •  New York State Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Assistance

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York
Step Up for Protection, Empowerment, and Renewals (SUPER) Project

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
  •  Health Insurance Enrollment Project 
  •  Health Insurance Enrollment Project Renewal

Trillium Health
Bringing Health Insurance Enrollment to Rochester's LGBT and Other High-Need Communities

Westchester Community Opportunity Program 
  •  Health Care Insurance Enrollment Project 
  •  Putnam Community Action Program Health Care Enrollment

Catholic Family Center
Train the Trainer: Meeting the Health Needs of Refugee Torture Survivors

Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and Erie County
Western New York Torture Survivor Center

Rochester General Hospital
  •  Replicating Refugee Healthcare Programs in Upstate New York
  •  Refugee Healthcare Project

The New York Immigration Coalition
Implementing Health Reform in New York: Maximizing Coverage for Immigrants

The Haitian American Cultural and Social Organization Inc. (HACSO Community Center Inc.)
Haitian Support Project

Brooklyn Community Foundation
Haitian Hope and Healing Fund 

Long Island Community Foundation 
Long Island Haitian Support Fund

Queens Library Foundation, Inc.
“Know Better – Feel Better”: Queens Library’s Health Literacy Program

Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York, New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage
Policies to Maximize Immigrants' Enrollment in Existing and Prospective Insurance Programs

Research Foundation of SUNY - University of Buffalo Department of Family Medicine
Addressing Cultural & Linguistic Barriers to Facilitated Enrollment

Community Health Care Association of New York State, Inc. (CHCANYS)
Community Health Center Immigrant Outreach Project


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