Who We Are

The Refugee Health Unit (RHU) is a part of the UC San Diego Center for Community Health and was launched in 2017 in response to the growing number of refugees in San Diego.

The Center for Community Health, through RHU, offers extensive proficiency in collaborating with local immigrant and refugee communities. Presently, the Unit takes on the role of the lead agency, overseeing program delivery for refugees statewide. It spearheads training and technical assistance support for Regional Lead and direct service provider agencies, facilitated through the establishment of statewide and regional Communities of Practice.

We are focused on helping refugee communities overcome health inequities and improve their agency so individuals feel represented as a part of the larger community. We do this by working with representatives from Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBO) to help facilitate greater involvement and representation with the ultimate goal of ensuring equal access to all Californian refugees and immigrants. By deploying evidence-based health practices and translational research, our program aims to achieve health equity by focusing on all aspects of the social determinants of health.

Our Work

The Refugee Health Unit strives to uplift the voice of San Diego County’s refugee populations by collaborating with and connecting the work of multiple local ethnic community-based organizations (ECBOs). The Refugee Health Unit dynamically supports local ECBOs in their efforts to improve the lives of refugees by serving as both an institutional and community-minded resource hub.

We follow the social determinants of health model through the following pathways:

San Diego has several Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBO’s) that are working to develop interventions that meet refugee needs. However, these organizations may not always have the resources necessary to sustain them.

We aim to work in collaboration with ECBOs to improve through evidence-based, culturally sensitive health education; partnerships that promote physical, emotional, and financial wellness; and participatory research to better understand and share with stakeholders the barriers to health and socioeconomic well being in the refugee community and how to overcome them.






We engage community residents, youth, and other community stakeholders in a collaborative process to address health disparities at multiple levels, and we welcome new initiatives and programs that show potential to improve access and equality for all our communities.

If you would like to collaborate or reach out with a program idea, please contact us for further details.


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