Date of Publication



Introduction: Many refugees who escape persecution in their own country have trouble navigating and accessing the American health care system. Language barriers often impair effective communication, while financial challenges can be prohibitive after the eight-month government insurance subsidy for new refugees expires. In addition many refugees do not understand the concept of chronic disease, which is a concern considering the overall rise in hypertension (HTN) and type-two diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in the US population. Understanding how refugees access health care, and how well they understand chronic disease, is essential for organizations providing medical care for these populations. Little is known about how the Burmese and Bhutanese refugees experience the Vermont health care system, nor how well they understand chronic diseases such as HTN and T2DM. To address these limitations, we conducted focus groups with these two Vermont refugee populations at the Community Health Center of Burlington, Vermont (CHCB).


Jon Bourgo, Community Health Centers of Burlington

Rodger Kessler, PhD, University of Vermont College of Medicine


Community Health Center of Burlington


Access to Health Services, Health Communication and Health Information Technology, Public Health Infrastructure


Presented at 138th APHA Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 8, 2010 as "Identifying Barriers to Health Care in the Burmese and Bhutanese Refugee Populations of Burlington, Vermont," by Megan Malgeri, Brian Costello, William Arscott, Kathryn DiPalma, Alex Folkl, Amanda Miller, Rebecca Purtell, Jon Bourgo, Rodger Kessler, PhD and Jan K. Carney, MD MPH.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Identifying barriers to care in the Burmese and Bhutanese refugee populations of Burlington, Vermont