A nurse with a heart for refugees

August 12, 2016

provrefugee3For refugees who call Snohomish County, Wash., their new home and safe haven from war and other disasters, Providence nurse practitioner Carol McCahon is there to help.

Once out of harm’s way, refugees face a different set of challenges as they resettle in new communities. Often they must learn a new language, find housing and figure out transportation. Add to this list finding access to health care. When the Snohomish Health District was forced to close its immunization clinic in 2015, many refugees were left at risk of not completing the necessary requirements for their permanent residency and lost other essential support services.

"When I met with Carol over a year ago and explained the needs of our newly arrived refugees, she immediately agreed to be on board and she created a solution,” said Patricia Yepassis-Zembrou, M.D., from the Snohomish Health District. 

Relief for those who are vulnerable

McCahon and the Providence Everett Healthcare Clinic partnered with the health district to provide primary care and immunizations. More than 100 refugees have been served through the program this year, thanks to Providence’s community investment. 

“The best thing is the time Carol spends with the clients,” said Dr. Yepassis-Zembrou. “This allows time for teaching them about the U.S. health system and how to navigate it.”  

Responding to significant needs

Access to primary care was identified as a significant need in Providence’s community health needs assessment in the Snohomish County area. Through collaboration and compassion, this vulnerable population is now receiving comfort and care.