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Online Course on Immigrant Health Issues

Immigrant Health Issues PA 5451

An on-line course for graduate students interested in Public Policy, Education, Public Health, Nursing, Social Work and related fields. The course may be taken for 3 or 4 graduate credits (4 credits with a final project; 3 credits without final project).

The demography of American communities is changing dramatically, but many of our institutions have not kept pace with the needs of new African, Asian, Eastern European, and Latino residents. Health care and social service providers are used to treating European-origin families and some Latino residents are suddenly seeing refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Laos, Bosnia, Cambodia, and the Sudan. In order to meet the needs of these new residents, it is imperative for providers and policymakers to understand the context and motives for immigration, as well as the characteristics and belief systems of their clients.

Professor, Section 001
Katherine Fennelly, Ph.D.
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
E-mail: fenne007@umn.edu

Professor, Section 002
Robin Councilman, M.D.
Family Medicine/Community Health
E-mail: mcouncilman@earthlink.net

Health care providers; policymakers; community agency professionals; students in public health, medicine, nursing, social work, public affairs, education, or the social sciences

Course Goals
Students taking this course will gain an understanding of the characteristics of immigrants and their families in the United States, major health needs, principles of cultural competence in service provision, and tools for effective advocacy.

Community Work
The key to becoming "culturally competent" is to go into the community to meet and learn from the residents you hope to serve. Community visits, observations, and interviews are an essential (and fun!) component of the course and the credit requirements.

Course Objectives
* Acquire research skills to access demographic, health and background information on immigrants in the U.S.
* Understand the major characteristics and health needs of new immigrants
* Design "culturally competent" health programs
* Learn to advocate for needed changes to promote immigrant health
* Interact with other professionals and policymakers

Course Schedule
Unit 1 - Research skills to access demographic, health and background information
Unit 2 - Characteristics and health needs of new immigrants
Unit 3 - Culturally competent care
Unit 4 - Advocacy

Course Format
* Online delivery. No in-person meeting times required. Instructor may invite students to an optional meeting.
* 14 weeks (fall semester)
FLYER 6-2010.doc

"This course is up to date, and very relevant. I know without a doubt I will use many of the things I've learned in my future practice, and furthermore, I now have a resource to go to when these situations arise."

"Although Immigrant Health Issues it is an online class, it has provided wonderful opportunities for community work and interaction with other students, the instructor, and the T.A. This makes the course especially valuable for working professionals because it combines the benefits of modern technology with those of the traditional learning techniques."

Immigrant Health Issues PA 5451

Frequently Asked Questions
What's an 'on-line' course?

Students can enroll from anywhere in the United States, and take the class from their home or office computers. Students will have access to the class website, which contains a wealth of information on immigrant and refugee issues Course texts are available from the U of M Bookstore. Students purchase dvds with segments on each of the course 'modules' which will also be available in the U of M Bookstore a few weeks before the beginning of the class. The dvds include interviews with immigrants and refugees, and with experts from the Center for Cross Cultural Health, the Center for International Health at Regions Hospital, the Otto Bremer Foundation, and Advocates for Human Rights. Community visits to sites in your geographic area are an integral part of the course and provide an opportunity to learn to become culturally competent.

Do we all need to be on computers at the same time?

Students complete assignments, community visits, and reading on the days and times that suit them best, but all weekly assignments are due on the same day so that students may read and comment upon their classmates' postings on the course website. Additional interaction with the instructor and with other students occurs through the website email system. During the semester we ask students to schedule "on-line chats"with one another on topics of mutual interest. Students can select evening or daytime for these chats." It's important to note that assignments are due weekly, and we follow the University's semester schedule for the course (This is not a 'work at your own pace' course). Some students may do their postings on the web at 11 a.m., while others may do it at 11 p.m. (or at any time during the day or night).
What are the course requirements for 3- or 4-credit registration?

Because we do not meet in person, all interactions are on the course website. Each week there are brief quizzes on the reading, and assignments which involve posting something on the website. These "postings" on the course bulletin board are our class discussions. Students will do web-based research, and make visits to interact with immigrants and refugees. These reading and research assignments can also be used to work on the final project (only for students taking the course for 4 credits; 3-credit students do not write a final project).
Final Project Instructions: (for 4 course credits)

Policy Recommendation Memo and supporting proposal: The final project will be a policy memo and supporting documents (15-20 pages, double-spaced). The memo and documents highlight a specific health or access problem facing immigrants or refugees in the U.S., and propose a policy change that can be implemented by a specific individual or agency or legislative body. More detailed instructions are included on the website.

A few examples of the types of problems that could be examined would be:

* Lack of sufficient interpreters or culturally competent providers hospitals for a particular population.
* Overcrowding in housing units leading to high eviction rates of Latino immigrants.
* Low rates of enrollment into Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare despite high eligibility rates on the part of particular groups.
* High volume use of the emergency room for primary or non-emergency visits from a particular group.
* High HIV or tuberculosis prevalence (or other preventable disease) among a particular immigrant group.
* High rates of domestic violence among a particular immigrant group.

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