Immigrant and Refugee Health

Headed by physician and GLP activist Dr. Sondra Crosby, the Immigrant & Refugee Health Program provides comprehensive primary care services to immigrant and refugee patients through their practice at the Shapiro Center at Boston Medical Center. The team of clinicians takes care of general healthcare needs through regular check-ups, immunizations, and screenings, as well as providing care for illnesses and injuries. Also, if needed, the team will coordinate patient care with a specialist for a more serious health issue.

Foreign and sign language interpreters are available to help patients communicate with the staff. The practice provides on-site interpreters and over the phone interpreters for more than 30 languages. If a patient needs an interpreter, they should tell a member of the staff when scheduling an appointment. Also, the Program offers access to psychiatric and case management support to provide support and care for the wide range of needs of patients.

Immigrant & Refugee Consult Service

The Boston Medical Center patient population has a high number of immigrant and refugee patients from a wide variety of countries. Many of these patients have complex medical, psychological and legal needs. The team at the Immigrant & Refugee Health Program are available on a consult basis to assist in the care of these vulnerable patients.

Consultation Expertise includes:
-Medical or psychological affidavits in support of asylum applications
-Infectious disease screening in immigrant and newly arrived patients
-Patients with complex refugee or war trauma

The program will see patients who are established at Boston Medical Center on a consultation basis or for ongoing primary care, based on the patient’s request.

To schedule an appointment, please contact Glory Ruiz at or at 1.617.414.5936. The patient must tell her whether they would like a consult or to schedule for ongoing primary care.

Refugee Health Assessment Program

Up to 75,000 refugees arrive each year in the United States, and about 5% of them have settled in Massachusetts in recent years. All refugees are entitled to a health assessment that needs to be initiated within three months of arrival in the U.S. Refugees are directed to the International Clinic by their sponsoring agencies. Trained medical interpreters and outreach workers affiliated with Boston Medical Center and the Refugee Health Program of the Department of Public Health provide an interpretation of language as well as information about cultural traditions and practices that may impact health.

The goals of the refugee health assessment are:

  • General health assessment, including vision, hearing and dental screening
  • Identification and treatment of immediate health needs
  • Diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases
  • Immunization
  • Orientation to the health system in the United States
  • Transition to a primary care provider
  • Unique Needs

Once this initial assessment has been done, the team is happy to continue to follow patients in the primary care practice or to refer them to centers closer to their homes.

Please note that the Refugee Health Assessment Program sees patients that are referred from specific resettlement agencies; thus the Program does not make appointments for patients outside this system. New immigrants to the U.S. should have their appointments made with primary care professionals with whom they plan to establish long-term care.


For more information on the Refugee Health Assessment Program in the state of Massachusetts:

To view the Istanbul Protocol:

For more information on Massachusetts immigrant and refugee resettlement services:

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