Center for International Health

Background

The Center for International Health was established in 1980 in response to the influx of Southeast Asians to Minnesota after the end of the Vietnam War. Initially called "The Hmong Clinic", or the "Southeast Asian Clinic", the clinic now sees many more Russian, African and Burmese patients as immigration trends change Minnesota's demographics. Since 1980, the program has expanded to include patients from more than 30 countries, with a staff of providers combining more than 100 years of experience in International Health, Tropical and Travel Medicine, with extensive experience practicing both internationally and in the United States. Our International Mental Health program was established in 1984, and the International Travel Clinic in 1986.

Key Components

(This care delivery model is nationally recognized)

  • Multidisciplinary care: Adult primary care; mental health program (psychiatry and psychology); pediatric specialty care (new arrival screenings, INS adjustment of status examinations)
  • Bilingual staff: Frontline staff, medical assistants, nursing and medical staff who are bilingual and bicultural.
  • Providers with expertise: Providers who are bilingual and bicultural, from the countries of origin of our patients, and with advanced degrees in tropical and travel medicine, public health, and international health.
  • Professionally trained Medical Interpreters: Staff interpreters available on site for multiple key languages. Agency interpreters contracted for all other languages. Telephone interpreter available for all languages.

Program Activities

Patient Care

Primary Care

  • New arrival screening examinations for refugees and immigrants (adults, pediatrics and families)
  • Primary care for non-English speaking and limited English speaking patients (adults only)

Consultative/Subspecialty Care

  • International Mental Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Group therapy (Vietnamese political prisoner's men's group)
  • Cross-cultural health care consults
  • INS adjustment of status examinations for families (Civil Surgeons on staff)

Academics

Teaching

  • Continuity Clinic – IM and Med-Peds:
  • Observerships for International medical graduates
  • Nursing and CMA students
  • School of Social Work interns

Lectures/ other educational activities

  • National, state and local lectures and day-long symposia on refugee health
  • New Book– "My Heart it is Delicious" by Billie Young, published October 2007
  • Chris Newberry Video "If We Knew Their Stories" with TPT Television
  • "Immigrant Medicine" textbook published October 2007
  • "LEARN" model video on cultural care
  • Research
    • multiple published case studies from the CIH
    • review articles on refugee and immigrant medicine
    • retrospective review of extrapulmonary tuberculosis in Minnesota
  • Consulting
    • Site visits and discussion of our care delivery model with Mayo, Maine Medical Center, HCMC, PNMC, CDC, International Organization for Migration, Canada and others

Community Outreach and Service

  • Board of Directors (International Institute of Minnesota, United Cambodian Association of Minnesota, Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota and others)
  • Health Fairs, community events
  •  Outreach via ethnic media
    • Health articles in Russian newspaper
    • Radio talk shows on mental health issues
    • Somali health television series
    • Hmong newspaper articles
    • MPR interviews