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Refugees and Primary Care:
What Professionals Can Do

A patient comes to your medical clinic and describes her symptoms. You begin to run through your mental checklist and then you pause. This patient has just arrived from Syria, or Iraq or Congo. Do you know what other questions you should be asking, and how to ask them? Do you know what specialized services are available in Ottawa for refugee patients? How do you do the best job you can for this new Canadian?

It's a fact that while many Canadians struggle to find primary care, it's even harder for refugees, who face extra hurdles related to language, transportation and awareness. Ottawa needs more primary care professionals to join the skilled doctors, nurses and allied staff who've been caring for refugee patients for many years. You can be one of them — our partners will help you get started and connect you to the expertise and information you need to deliver high-quality care.

Here are two easy ways to step up: 

  • Send an email to health@refugee613.ca to indicate that you're willing to accept refugee patients. You will be connected to members of the Refugee 613 Health task force developing a referral list for refugees and to exciting new resources such as the new e-consult service on refugee health, developed with the Champlain LHIN. 
  • Register to attend Caring for Refugees in Primary Care on January 14, a half-day workshop for primary care professionals, organized by the Bruyere Family Health team, the Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre and other partners on the Refugee 613 Health task force. They've developed an excellent introduction to the refugee process, templates for refugee care, services for language and cultural navigation, pediatric and mental health considerations and much more. You can register by sending an email to familymedicine@bruyere.org

Put your training and experience to work for the newest residents of our city — you'll be glad you did.