UB - Community Connections to Improve Refugee Health and Wellbeing

Co-sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, Office of Global Health Initiatives and the Community for Global Health Equity

2017 Refugee Health Summit.

The Annual Western New York (WNY) Refugee Health Summit unites clinicians, resettlement representatives, community health workers, researchers, students, municipal leaders, and refugees to highlight innovative university-community partnerships that have resulted in research, programming, and solutions to improve health and wellbeing for refugees living in Buffalo and Western New York.

Housing for Refugee Health and Wellbeing: 6th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summitt

The built environment, or the human-made surroundings in which people live, work, and recreate, has direct and indirect effects on physical and poor mental health. Poor housing conditions - exposure to toxins, insufficient daylight, inadequate ventilation and insulation, isolation or crowding - are associated with respiratory infections, lead poisoning, and mental health. Quality affordable housing is also becoming scarce - lessees may not know their rights and fall victim to property owner violations.

For Buffalo's New Americans, poor housing conditions worsen physical and mental health and wellbeing. New Americans seek more adequate training on their rights and opportunities. Current and future health care providers seek to understand the link between their home environment and health. Researchers seek to uncover deep connections between the built environment and health. The 6th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit was an opportunity for New Americans, health care providers, and researchers to convene, and collaboratively explore ways in which housing can be a lever for improving health in Buffalo, NY. The 2019 Summit: 

  • Examined Buffalo's housing crisis,
  • Explored the links between housing and health,
  • Recommended policies to improve housing for better health of refugees, and
  • Identified innovative practices that improve mental and physical health for New Americans.


Dr. Katarzyna Kordas, Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Environmental Health; Co-Director, Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity
Jessica Lazarin, Director, Office for New Americans, City of Buffalo
Jessica Scates, Coordinator, WNY Refugee Health Summit

Chan Myae Thu, Community Health Worker, Neighborhood Health Center 
Steven Sanyu, President, Burmese Community Services 
Theo Have, Medical Case Manager, Evergreen Health 
Abdi Farah, Community Health Specialist, Community Health Center of Buffalo; Co-founder and Vice Chair, HEAL Intl.


Lila Rollo, American Integration Program Coordinator, International Institute of Buffalo
Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Executive Director, Partnership for the Public Good
Daniel J. Corbitt, Associate Director, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)

Dr. Yeeli Mui, Postdoctoral Associate, Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity, University at Buffalo
Erkin Özay, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture,University at Buffalo

Community Response: Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Executive Director, Partnership for the Public Good


John Starkey, Principal, Lafayette International High School
Ali Kadhum, Mental Health Counselor, BestSelf Behavior Health
Jeanette Koncikowski, Executive Director, Grassroots Gardens WNY
Virginia Barron, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Buffalo String Works

San Da, Monk, Bodhi-Sukha Monastery, Arakan American Buddhist Inc.
Adnan Abdulsaid, Imam, Jaferi Center
Ingabire Adam, Youth Leader, Massachusetts Avenue Project
Win Thant, Education Coordinator, Buffalo State College