HHSA Participates in Health Fair for East African Families

Did you know that San Diego County is home to a large Somali community? U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s immigration statistics cite San Diego as a primary U.S destination for East African immigrant and refugee families. Our local population is now estimated at close to 12,000 and growing. At the same time, studies report that local East African communities need substantial education and services covering general and mental health. To help serve that need, several HHSA employees recently presented health information to approximately 300 attendees at Somali Family Service of San Diego’s (SFS) third annual Health Fair in honor of World Refugee Day. The event was held on June 25, 2011 at the City Heights Community Park.

County Public Health Nurse Manager Bonnie Copland, PHN, MSN, talked about the importance of immunizations, particularly for children. Public Health Nurse Shukri Adam, RN assisted with English / Somali translation. And Senior Clinical Psychologist Joachim (Joe) Reimann, Ph.D. provided culturally tailored mental health information in his keynote address. Topics included common refugee trauma, social stressors, and services that can help people address such issues. Joe routinely serves local East African community members in his practice and is an SFS Board Member.

Other presenters talked about disaster preparedness, senior wellness, and prenatal health. A senior walk was also held. In addition to the health fair, SFS provides year-around health education and outreach as part of its overall efforts. To learn more about SFS, please visit: http://www.somalifamilyservice.org/

HHSA Table: Social Services Aide Elizabeth Rodriguez and her daughter Elizzeth Rodriguez; Public Health Nurse Shukri Adam, RN