Refugees in denver and their perceptions of their health and health care

David Elwell, Sarah Junker, Stefan Sillau, Eva Aagaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background. Colorado receives approximately 2,500 refugees each year from countries all over the world. We assessed the self-perceived health of and barriers to care for refugees in the Denver metro area in order to understand better the needs of this population. Methods. A 61-item questionnaire was completed by a convenience sample of 120 local refugees between June and December of 2009. Results. Only 10% of respondents reported their health as excellent, while 31% rated it as either poor or fair. The most prominent barriers to care included unemployment (91%), language (46%), lack of health insurance (41%), lack of transportation (43%), and distrust of doctors (22%). Conclusions. Our study suggests that refugees in Denver face significant barriers that affect their access to health care. Recommendations include improved job and language skill programs, a health navigator program, and health care provider training on culturally effective care of this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-141
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication barriers
  • Health care disparities
  • Health services accessibility
  • Refugees

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