In June, the IRC in Atlanta’s Community Health Response Manager, Dr. Omar Aziz, was invited to present at the annual North American Refugee Health Conference (NARHC), held in Cleveland, Ohio. The NARHC is recognized as the preeminent conference destination for healthcare and resettlement professionals working with refugee populations, with approximately 700 attendees from across the continent.
In partnership with colleagues Lizbeth Gonzalez, MAS, Sr. Health Program Manager for the IRC offices in Tucson and Phoenix, and Leena Zahra, Project & Operations Sr. Coordinator for IRC HQ, Dr. Aziz delivered an interactive workshop entitled Centering Refugee Voices in Health Messaging, which explored how to identify preferred messaging channels for refugee communities, how to use creative messaging for COVID-19 and beyond, and the process of cultural validation.
Cultural validation is a process in which bilingual, bicultural community members review materials and provide feedback on their accuracy and cultural appropriateness. “These community members bring invaluable perspectives, reviewing materials for not only the linguistic accuracy, but also addressing the cultural appropriateness of designs, images and text for the communities we are trying to reach,” shared Dr. Aziz. “In a way, this is really about language access and justice. We recognize that traditional public health messaging may not resonate with the communities that we serve, so we are not only ensuring that there are linguistically appropriate materials, but that the materials also fully embrace the community’s cultural preferences and backgrounds.”
The IRC in Atlanta is incredibly proud of Dr. Aziz and his dedication to leading our COVID-19 response efforts over the past two and a half years, and we are thrilled that his expertise was acknowledged and shared at this year’s NARHC.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.