Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Rochester General Hospital

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

January 2016

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

February 2012– September 2015

The United States has a longstanding history of accepting refugees in search of a new life, all of whom have fled war-torn countries or cannot safely return to their home country.

Approximately 3,000-5,000 refugees per year have resettled in New York State, the majority in the upstate region. Many refugees share similar health-related challenges that make it difficult to access health care, including exposure to torture, terrorism, and lengthy stays in refugee camps, as well as language barriers. Health care clinics have either shut their doors to new refugees or have closed down altogether because of the financial burden of treating these patients. With NYHealth support, Rochester General Hospital (RGH) developed and piloted a financially sustainable refugee health care model in the Rochester area in 2009. In 2012, NYHealth awarded a second grant to replicate the successful model in Utica and Buffalo, both of which have large populations of resettled refugees.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Connected refugees to primary care services in Utica and Buffalo;
  • Designed an implementation model for counties in these target areas;
  • Facilitated collaborations and forged partnerships with on-the-ground physician leaders, resettlement agencies, local health departments, interpretation services, and other stakeholders to champion the model and perform the necessary implementation work; and
  • Provided technical assistance and intensive training to health care providers and health systems to implement the model.

Read the full report on this grant,“Opening Doors: A Sustainable Refugee Health Care Model.”