Caring for new Iowans: an introduction to refugee health and cultural considerations

Nola Aigner Davis is the Public Health Communications Officer for the Polk County Health Department. Aigner Davis graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations and a Master of Arts Degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Communication. In her role at the Health Department has works to educate the community on important public health messaging and services. She holds leadership roles with Safeguard Iowa Partnership, Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa and Metro Media Council. Her role also has created an opportunity to be an instructor for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management teaching public information classes.

Outside of Aigner Davis’s work at the Health Department, she is an adjunct instructor for Buena Vista University and Mercy College of Health Sciences. Aigner Davis is an active member of Junior League of Des Moines, Dream Catchers Foundation, Inc. and Community Youth Concepts.

This presentation will provide an introduction to refugee health in Iowa including an overview of the refugee resettlement process, the overseas and domestic medical exams, and refugee populations in Iowa. The presenters will discuss the potential health needs of newly arrived refugees and key cultural considerations for working with refugee communities in Iowa, including newly arrived Afghans from Operation Allies Welcome and Ukrainians arriving through the Uniting for Ukraine program.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Compare the overseas medical examination, the domestic initial refugee health assessment, and the adjustment of status medical exam.
  2. Identify potential health needs of newly arrived refugee populations.
  3. Understand key cultural considerations for the refugee communities in Iowa.