Journal of Immigrant Health

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 19–28 | Cite as

The Journey to Wellness: Stages of Refugee Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

  • Lawrence A. Palinkas
  • Sheila M. Pickwell
  • Kendra Brandstein
  • Terry J. Clark
  • Linda L. Hill
  • Robert J. Moser
  • Abdikadir Osman


Refugees experience a threefold challenge to their health and well-being: 1) psychiatric disorders precipitated by the refugee experience, 2) infectious and parasitic diseases endemic to countries of origin, and 3) chronic diseases endemic to host countries. This paper documents the “journey to wellness” in which these challenges are faced in stages by the refugees themselves and by the array of health and social service agencies committed to providing refugee assistance. Using the experience of a consortium of agencies in San Diego as an example, we examine the interaction between these challenges and the mobilization of organizations to develop a program of health promotion and disease prevention for Somali and other East African refugees. This mobilization involves a series of steps designed to facilitate refugee confidence, comprehension, and compliance with prevention efforts through community-provider partnerships and negotiation between refugee and organizational explanatory models of disease causation and prevention.

refugees disease prevention HIV psychiatric disorders health promotion 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence A. Palinkas
    • 1
  • Sheila M. Pickwell
    • 2
  • Kendra Brandstein
    • 3
  • Terry J. Clark
    • 4
  • Linda L. Hill
    • 5
  • Robert J. Moser
    • 4
  • Abdikadir Osman
    • 3
  1. 1.Immigrant and Refugee Health Studies Program, Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego
  2. 2.Division of Graduate Nursing StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego
  3. 3.The California Program of Project Concern International San Diego
  4. 4.Refugee and Immigrant Services, Catholic CharitiesDiocese of San DiegoSan Diego
  5. 5.Linda Vista Health Care CenterSan Diego

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