Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Naomi Rogers


Nationally, there is no single clinic model for the provision of healthcare to refugees, and the field of refugee health is perpetually in flux. However, in the New Haven area, there is a well-established system of resettlement, health screening, and healthcare integration for newly arrived refugees. A local agency secures housing, provides education and social opportunities, and coordinates medical visits. And Yale-New Haven Hospital holds adult and pediatric screening clinics for refugees. The origins of this local system lie in the late 1970s and 1980s, when Soviet Jewish and Southeast Asian refugees began to relocate to New Haven in large numbers.

In this thesis, I examine the socioeconomic and cultural circumstances that these two groups of refugees encountered in Connecticut. I then characterize the clinics and other arrangements that healthcare providers created at Yale-New Haven Hospital, at the Hospital of Saint Raphael’s, and around New Haven to care for refugee patients. Finally, I analyze some of the medical and psychiatric conditions from which Southeast Asian and Soviet Jewish refugees suffered, as well as how their health was perceived by the general public, the medical community, and the federal government.

The research presented here serves multiple purposes. First, with archival and oral history data, this paper details what are, to my knowledge, the first formalized refugee health apparatuses implemented in New Haven. Second, it offers examples of ways in which refugees’ resettlement experiences – geographic placement, economic prospects, integration with a co-ethnic community – may affect their mental health, healthcare access, and sustainability of refugee clinics. And finally, this thesis demonstrates some common challenges faced and best practices employed by refugee health enterprises.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access