As Afghan refugees and their families touch down in the United States, CCI welcomes their arrival. Our health centers have already started fielding new Afghan referrals, and we anticipate more in the upcoming weeks.
For years, CCI has worked closely with the Maryland Department of Health and local resettlement organizations to complete thorough health assessments for newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers. We’re proud to have completed the most assessments in Maryland in the last fiscal year, beginning July 2020 and ending June 2021. Our refugee health team comprises professionals with years of experience who understand the intricacies of providing culturally competent, compassionate care.
Many of our newly arrived Afghan patients have just experienced what will likely be the most traumatizing event of their lives. Their sudden evacuation forced them to leave behind everything they know and love. Their scramble to escape, coupled with the extreme violence and unrest witnessed in Kabul, means that while they may have left the situation in Afghanistan, the situation will not easily leave them.
“Right now, our Behavioral Health Consultants are already observing a remarkable amount of acute trauma in our new Afghan patients,” said Robin Sparer, CCI’s Integrative Behavioral Health Director. “They’re coming in with many fears, separation anxiety, and severe physical and mental distress. It will take time to understand and uncover the extent of their struggles.”
CCI’s President & CEO Dr. Sonya J. Bruton on Rockville’s Yesterday Today Tomorrow speaking about Afghan refugees.
And though our new Afghan patients’ mental wellness is a priority in our health centers, they will need a considerable amount of care in other areas, including primary care, dental visits, translation services, and transportation. Meanwhile, the demand for our health services remains high as we continue to support refugees and asylees fleeing unrest from African and Latin American countries.
But no matter what it takes, we will be there for our new neighbors because that’s who we are. As one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in Maryland, as well as passionate advocates for the populations we serve, we stand firm in our commitment to provide service to anyone who needs it. Our Afghan neighbors are counting on us, and we will do whatever we can to support them.
You can help us meet current and future needs by contributing to CCI’s Refugee Health program, which seeks to expand the clinical health team assigned to care for newly arrived Afghan refugees and our entire refugee population. And as we remain on the front lines of care related to COVID-19, we also welcome general donations to meet the many health needs of our community.
Our Afghan neighbors have a long, difficult road ahead of them. And while the scene in Afghanistan may have taken many things away from them, nothing can take their determination and will. We are confident that with time, their resilience will lead them to reclaim their lives—and we’ll be right by their sides every step of the way.