- Maria-Luisa Vallejo
Refugee Health Coordinator
Refugees are foreign national who cannot return to his or her country of origin or last residence because of persecution or the well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, as determined by the Department of State or the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Refugees have legal resident status in the United States and as such are entitled to all of the rights and responsibilities of legal residents.
Refugees approved to resettle in here must have a medical examination before traveling to Rhode Island to screen them for certain communicable diseases or mental health conditions associated with violence. Refugees with those communicable diseases will not be allowed to resettle until they are treated and no longer infectious.
Refugees resettle in Rhode Island by joining family members or by being sponsored by a voluntary resettlement agencies (VOLAGS) The Diocese of Providence and the International Institute of Rhode Island are the VOLAGS in the state. They deliver refugee reception and placement services as part of cooperative agreements with the United States Department of State.
The Refugee Health Program receives notice of refugees who are entered the country to resettle in the state. As part of the resettlement process, refugees must have a domestic health screening within 30 days of arrival in Rhode Island. Data from that screening is reported to the Refugee Health Program.
We work with refugee resettlement agencies, state programs, and health and social service providers to develop coordinated and comprehensive health services for refugees.
We provide training medical providers who work with refugees.
We track refugee health information for planning and reporting purposes.