To provide ethical, holistic, and culturally-inclusive care for all displaced and vulnerable populations in collaboration with activists and existing healthcare organizations along the US-Mexico border.
The Refugee Health Alliance (RHA) was organized in 2018 in response to increasing medical need at the US-Mexico Border.
- Patients receiving care are:
- Vulnerable and marginalized. They are families, children, pregnant women and LGBTQ individuals. They have been displaced, deported from the US, and politically and socially excluded. They are refugees and asylum seekers fleeing structural and non-structural violence.
- Patients have traveled from various countries including:
- Cameroon, Eritrea, Mauritania, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Armenia, Venezuela, Russian, Belize, Sierra Leone, Iran, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Sudan, Jamaica, Belarus, Poland, Syria, Turkey and China.
Our main aims are to:
- Sustain the provision of ethical, culturally competent, holistic and trauma informed care to our patient population.
- Empower affected individuals to advocate for their own medical and legal rights.
- Connect individuals and families to resources, including:
- Substance use disorder treatment
- HIV care
- TB diagnosis and medical care
- Legal services
- Mental health resources
- Dental health resources
- Collaborate with relevant local community organizations to address the social determinants of health, including, but not limited to:
- Economic disparities
- Food insecurity
- Legal barriers
- Structural violence
- Human rights
- Gender Identity
- Mobilize a dynamic network of volunteers, interprofessional clinicians, undergraduate/graduate students, and advocates from Mexico to promote the wellbeing of under-resourced populations.
- Promote ongoing discussion of the public health implications of such a large population of displaced individuals/families through research, advocacy, and educational initiatives.
Refugee Health Alliance had previously established a clinic at an autonomous community space called Enclave Caracol where asylum seekers also could come to receive free meals and legal support. In 9/2019 we transitioned our “Weekday Clinic” to Prevencasa, a well established harm reduction clinic in Zona Norte that has been working for years with vulnerable patient populations. This clinic is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm and is typically staffed by 2-5 volunteers. The clinic treats approximately 10-30 patients each day and has access to basic labs, imaging, and specialty referrals. If necessary, we also subsidize the hospitalization of critically ill migrants. Since our inception in November 2018, we have completed approximately 5,000 patient consultations and we have become the largest charity healthcare provider to the migrants and the shelters in Tijuana, with the exception of the Mexican government.
Our focus is not exclusive to medical treatment. We also provide mental health services in the form of psychological consultations and group support to vulnerable subsets of the population including unaccompanied minors and LGBT members. We also host recreational therapy sessions, which have included activities like art and yoga to promote psychological and physical well being. Lastly, we work with closely with lawyers to produce documentation for migrants in preparation for their asylum process.
Mobile Shelter Outreach
Every Saturday, at overcrowded shelters throughout Tijuana, we host mobile clinics for those who are unable to travel to Prevencasa. Clinical teams of 15 -35 physicians, nurses, EMTs and other medical volunteers typically see between 80-120 patients every Saturday. Higher acuity are then referred to local hospitals or for follow up at our clinic in Prevencas.