Developing Effective Interdisciplinary Team Praxis in Refugee Health: Findings from a Pilot Course at UNC - Chapel Hill Public Deposited

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  • February 22, 2019
  • Hwang, Ariel
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine
  • Reiss, Rachel
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine
  • Warner, Adrianna
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Background, Purpose/Objective: The complex ecology of resettled refugee health requires solutions beyond the scope of one particular discipline. To facilitate practitioner efforts working in interdisciplinary teams to provide refugee care and support, providers must overcome discipline-specific differences in conceptualization, communication, and prioritization. Our study aims to identify strategies in interdisciplinary teamwork and education for the common goal of supporting refugees.Method: The Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill piloted a course on refugee health, in which small interdisciplinary teams supported local resettled refugee clients. We conducted semi-structured individual interviews with students in the course about their experiences working with refugee clients as part of an interdisciplinary unit. Our objective was to examine 1) evolving understanding of disciplinary roles, 2) perspectives on team goals and function, and 3) effective strategies to harness interdisciplinary strengths to support recently resettled refugees.Results: Based on preliminary analysis, major barriers to effective interdisciplinary teamwork included: lack of clarity on individual and team roles, uncertain team-client relationship dynamics, and difficulties in coordination with external service providers. Establishing a collective team identity and norms improved cohesiveness and perceived effectiveness. Team composition by gender, experiential background, disciplinary predominance did not appear to affect team outcomes.Conclusion: Recently resettled refugees may benefit from the support and expertise of multiple disciplines, particularly in the areas of health and wellness. Results of this study will illustrate practices of interdisciplinary teamwork and education which promote our collective ability to support refugee health and wellness.
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  • North American Refugee Health Conference (2018 : Portland, Oregon)

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