At A Glance
More than 4,780 immigrants and refugees – 1 in every 10 people – in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, have improved access to culturally competent health care. In September 2016, Central Maine Community Health Corporation and Healthy Androscoggin worked with United Ambulance and other groups to provide immigrants and refugees, primarily from African countries, better options to improve and manage their chronic illnesses. Paramedics provide prevention and wellness services through culturally competent care, translated documents, and language services.
Public Health Challenge
In the past 15 years, Lewiston-Auburn had a rise in the number of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The group known as “New Mainers” makes up more than one-tenth of the area’s population. In a door-to-door survey of 232 New Mainers in 2013, respondents’ most common self-reported health conditions were diabetes (37%), high blood pressure (37%), and stress (33%). Many New Mainers said they were not aware of all the local services available to them, were confused by the complex health care system, or were not insured and couldn’t pay for services. Compounding these serious concerns was a cultural divide that made communication and health care access hard.
Find Out More
Healthy Androscroggin works to improve health and quality of life in Androscoggin County. Through this project, the coalition helped local health providers gain experience and understanding to best serve the rapidly diversifying population. This project is supported by CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) cooperative agreement. For more information, visit www.healthyandroscoggin.org/reach and http://www.healthyandroscoggin.org/learn-more/data/.
Our clients really appreciate having forms available in their preferred language. We like it because it ensures that medical information is understood, and they feel more comfortable knowing that we care about the way we communicate with them.
Healthy Androscoggin worked with United Ambulance and seven community partners to improve care for New Mainers. Healthy Androscoggin provided cultural competence training to 143 people, including United Ambulance’s community paramedics (CPs), teaching them to be aware of the social and cultural needs of different racial and ethnic groups and develop relationships with patients so they could improve health outcomes. A promotional video was also created for stakeholders, doctors, and potential referrals to highlight United's Home Visit Program. Health care providers refer patients to the program, in which a CP visits patients at home to help them manage pressing health conditions.