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14.11.2015 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2016

Journal of Community Health 3/2016

Building Social Capital Through a Peer-Led Community Health Workshop: A Pilot with the Bhutanese Refugee Community

Journal of Community Health > Ausgabe 3/2016
Hyojin Im, Rachel Rosenberg


Despite the high health and mental health care needs, resettled refugees often face cultural and linguistic challenges that hinder the access to appropriate and timely interventions and services. Additionally, such concepts as preventive health or mental health treatment are foreign to this population, which creates additional burdens to the refugee community that already have difficulty navigating a complex health care system in the U.S. To address multiple and complex gaps in health and mental health support for the refugee community, requested is an innovative approach that can convey culturally responsive and effective interventions for health promotion, such as peer-based health education. Few studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of peer-led community health interventions with refugee populations in the U.S. resettlement context. However, peer-led interventions have been shown to be effective when working with cultural minorities and interventions in an international context. Adopting a social capital framework, the current study conducted qualitative evaluation on the impact of a pilot peer-led community health workshop (CHW) in the Bhutanese refugee community. A hybrid thematic analysis of focus group discussion data revealed the improvement in health promotion outcomes and health practice, as well as perceived emotional health. The results also showed that the peer-led CHW provided a platform of community building and participation, while increasing a sense of community, sense of belonging and unity. The findings posit that a peer-led intervention model provides culturally responsive and effective tools for building social capital and promoting community health in the refugee community.

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