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Residents Provide Health Screenings for New Americans of Refugee Backgrounds

Early in 2022, University of Utah Health signed a contract with the Utah Department of Health’s Refugee and Tuberculosis Program to provide Initial Health Screenings (IHS) to families resettling in Utah from a refugee or asylum-seeking background. These vital screenings allow new Americans from a refugee background access to healthcare resources in their new communities and provide an important public health service.

Screenings cover a wide variety of health concerns ranging from intestinal parasites and lead poisoning to mental and reproductive health. University of Utah residents are part of the team of practitioners that perform the tests, giving them valuable experience in both clinical screening procedures and interacting with a diverse group of patients with unique health needs. Screenings by Utah residents are performed at Sugarhouse Health Center, with other teams in the valley performing screenings at St. Mark’s and Health Clinics of Utah.

The Family Medicine Residency Program, in tandem with Family Medicine clinical practice, has taken the lead within the University in providing these screenings. Along with Erika Sullivan, MD, clinicians Bernadette Kiraly, MD and Eli Moreno, MD have been instrumental in the organizational process and roll-out of these clinics as a part of residency training.

“We believe these screenings are important to our overall mission of meeting the needs of vulnerable members of our community and providing them with an important service by connecting them to appropriate resources to meet their healthcare needs,” says Dr. Sullivan.