Refugee Resettlement in the U.S.: Contextualizing the Odyssey of New Americans

Refugee resettlement is a current political topic in the news and everyday discussions.  This topic is not well understood by most people in the general public. Students interested in social justice, human rights, and gender issues as well as those increasing their own knowledge about refugee resettlement in high income countries will develop a more thorough understanding about what it means to be a refugee in the current political climate, as well as what it means to be resettled outside of one’s home and familiar country. Students will develop an understanding of why “integration” is a key concept in working with individuals and families who are newly arriving Americans, i.e., refugees.

The overall purpose of the Praxis Lab is to create a frame for advocacy work that will last a lifetime. During Fall semester, students will work through the 10 indicators of integration (Agar & Strang, 2004) to create a composite sketch of why these indicators are important and what they say about U.S. society in the 21st Century.  Service providers from Catholic Community Services, the International Rescue Committee, the Office of Refugee Services, the Refugee-Immigrant Center—Asian Association of Utah, and Women of the World will be invited as guest speakers. Throughout the semester, we will consider various methods for community-based participatory research and project development. Students will need to spend time at the Refugee Education & Training Center to meet with community partners for the work planned for Spring Semester.

For Spring semester, faculty and students will co-create activities based on the discussions from Fall Semester. Students will create a summary of the work they would support around advocacy, education, and/or research.  Once these interests are summarized, students will decide on a project to work on for the remainder of the semester.

Faculty

Caren J. Frost, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Caren Frost is the Director of the new Center for Research on Migration & Refugee Integration for the University of Utah and a Research Professor at the University of Utah’s College of Social Work. She chairs the Refugee Women’s Committee for Utah, and works with a number of refugee women’s groups to identify speakers and topics for workshops on women’s health.  She is a qualitative researcher with expertise in ethnography and phenomenology.  Her research expertise allows her to capitalize on mixed method frames emphasizing the importance of adding qualitative components to inform data collection and analysis. As Co-Chair of the Institutional Review Board at the University of Utah, Dr. Frost provides expertise in social and behavioral science methods.

Lisa H. Gren, Ph.D., MSPH

Dr. Gren holds a doctoral degree in Public Health from the University of Utah, and she is the Associate Director for the Center for Research on Migration and Refugee Integration. She teaches graduate courses in Biostatistics, and Public Health Systems and Services. Her research focuses on matching individuals and communities to the right health intervention, delivered at the right time, in a culturally appropriate way. In this work, she uses a mixed methods approach that includes both qualitative assessment (such as interviews and focus groups) and quantitative measures (such as questionnaires and health records). Her work on evaluating integration includes the development and validation of the Measuring Immigrant & Refugee Integration (MIRI) tool.