West Side Community Health Services is the largest community clinic organization in Minnesota, with multiple locations in the metro area. West Side provides innovative and multicultural/multilingual health care services and education to immigrant and low-income communities. The mission of West Side is 'Caring for the Health of Diverse Communities.' Founded in 1972, West Side Community Health Services is one of the largest and most established community health care organizations. Recognizing the benefits that research offers health service providers, their clients, and the community, West Side initiated discussions with other service oriented community-based organizations and the University of Minnesota. Conversations focused on finding ways to formalize these relationships while considering the feeling of invasiveness or intrusion felt by many community members during the research process. West Side raised concerns as well about the number of fragmented research projects already underway within their community. The discussions led to a growing interest in the development of a 'organization' that would facilitate research being conducted in the communities that West Side served, predominately Latino, Asian (Hmong, in particular), and increasingly African (Somali, Eritrean, and Ethiopian). The organization would promote community-based research, develop long-lasting relationships with researchers, and focus on health disparity issues. To facilitate the process, a name was given to the concept: The Institute for Immigrant and Refugee Health and Wellness. This report is the result of initial research conducted during the Fall of 2007 by a University of Minnesota graduate student.
Prepared in partnership with West Side Community Health Services. Funded by a Communiversity Personnel Grant from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
The Institute for Immigrant & Refugee Health and Wellness.
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