Needs Assessment Committee Meeting February 8, 2024

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Members Present: Emma Kaywin (Co-chair), Marcy Thompson (Co-chair), David Klotz (Governmental – chair), John Schoepp, Steven Wilcox, Arthur Fitting, Fay Barrett, Billy Fields, Marcelo Maia-Soares, Raffi Babakhanian, Norine DiGiulio, Rasheed Ford, Aldonza Milian, Jennifer Irwin

DOHMH, PHS, NYS, CHAIN, and Other Staff Present: Doienne Saab, Kimbirly Mack, Sara Kramer, Alyssa Prince, Scott Spiegler, Cristina Rodriquez-Hart, Yusyin Hsin,  Nadine Alexander, Lily Ha

Agenda Item #1: Moment of Silence/Minutes:

Marcy T. opened the meeting with introductions. Marcelo S. led the moment of silence. Doienne S. approved the meeting minutes from January.

Agenda Item #2: Presentation – Immigrant Health/Asylum Seeker Health Themes, Goals, and Recommendations  

2a. Immigrant Health/Asylum Seeker Health Themes, Goals, and Recommendations   Doienne S. presented on the approved themes and goals gathered from the contenct collected at the November to December NAC meetings on immigrant and asylum seeker health. She also introduced the draft recommendations that were informed by the themes and goals for the NAC’s review. As a next step, each the recommendations will be finalized and formally conveyed in a memo the Recipient for improving and expanding immigrant and asylum seeker access to RWPA services. The following themes, goals and recommendations were discussed: Language Barriers: Doienne S. presented the compiled themes for language barriers, their associated, overarching goal and its set of drafted recommendations.   The committee discussed the importance of ensuring that resources are accessible and linguistically affirming to serve the diverse language needs of the newly arrived immigrants. Billy F. suggested including resources from the United Nations (UN) to deliver language access services that are culturally considerate and appropriate to the diverse community of newly arrived New Yorkers.  Marcelo M. suggested including resources for the Subrecipient to have assisted devices and software to connect clients to language interpretation services to fill in gaps for interpreters when providers lack the capacity.   Service Demand Increase and Navigation Barriers: Doienne S. presented the compiled themes for service demand increase and navigation barriers, their associated, overarching goal and its set of drafted recommendations.    Doienne highlighted the challenges faced in managing the increased demand for services due to resource and funding limitations. The Cmte. discussed the vulnerability faced by newly arrived immigrant clients and the need for effective navigation strategies to mitigate those barriers. Amanda L. mentioned that African Services Committee is starting a new peer program that matches existing immigrant clients with newly arrived immigrants for six months. The program aims to provide newly arrived immigrants with mentorship, advice, and support to navigate the challenging barriers to essential services. Mental Health Concerns – Client Level Doienne S. presented the compiled themes for mental health concerns (client level) and its overarching, associated goal: To address the mental health concerns and the high level of trauma among newly arrived immigrant clients using an affirming, culturally responsive and client-centered approach; to equip staff with the appropriate tools to address mental health concerns. Mental Health – Staff Level Doienne S. presented the compiled themes for mental health concerns (staff level) and its overarching, associated goal: To build staff resiliency to enhance psychological wellness in the workplace. LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers Needing Health and Support Services Doienne S. presented the compiled themes for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers needing health and support services themes and its overarching, associated goal: To provide the guidance and resources to help providers with treating LGBTQ+ clients with sensitivity and competence to appropriately meet their needs in an affirming manner. The Cmte. emphasized that LGBTQ+ services for asylum seekers must be safe and confidential to ensure accessibility for this community. The Cmte. asked Doienne S. to reach out to Legal Aid Society and to LGBTQ+ led organizations to inform best practices for this community. Stakeholder Engagement and Community Engagement Doienne S. presented the compiled themes  stakeholder engagement and community engagement and its overarching, associated goal: To build the capacity of RWPA providers to better health and social services access. The Cmte.  highlighted the importance of information sharing and being aware of how other jurisdictions are managing and responding to the asylum seeker crisis for adopting best practices. 
Doienne S. informed members that the feedback gathered at this meeting will be used to draft a final set of recommendations to improve and expand immigrant and asylum seeker access to RWPA services. The recommendations will be discussed and finalized at the next NAC meeting in February. Agenda Item #3: Announcements   Doienne S. shared information on two upcoming NYC DOHMH-hosted webinars on asylum seeker and immigrant health. There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned.