This story originally appeared in the College of Public Health's spring 2017 issue of InSight.
For nearly two decades, conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has caused hundreds of thousands of people to seek refuge in other countries. Within the last year alone, an estimated 239 Congolese refugees have settled in Johnson County, Iowa. A project to improve health care access for this population is now underway thanks to generous public support provided through a new crowdfunding venture.
“This project is focused on understanding the health care needs of the Congolese refugee community in Johnson County,” says Will Story, the project’s leader and CPH assistant professor of community and behavior health. “That’s both working with families to understand the intentions of physicians and health care providers, but also helping physicians understand some of the barriers—cultural, language, transportation—that people are facing when they’re coming into a brand new place.”
Culturally Competent Care
The “Health for All” project was one of three projects selected by the University of Iowa to pilot its new GOLDrush online crowdfunding platform. Unveiled last fall, the month-long campaign had a goal to raise $10,000 for each project. Story’s project raised a total of $10,711 donated by colleagues, local physicians, and concerned citizens.