Project Summary

In 2016, more than 2,000 refugees were settled in Colorado, adding to the more than 15,000 already living in the state. Refugees resettled to the US have been disenfranchised from the health research process despite experiencing disparities in health outcomes. Little is known about how refugees view and prioritize health topics, and they face substantial barriers to participating in research and defining research priorities for their communities. There are no sustainable, long-term models for refugee engagement and leadership in health research. During an immersion experience in the refugee community, the I-HEaRD project team detected need and desire for refugee engagement in research processes conducted in this community.

Utilizing community-based participatory research principles, we will develop a community-based research network (CBRN) of refugees and refugee community stakeholders in the Denver metro area. This CBRN will increase the capacity of refugees and refugee community stakeholders to participate in research processes, including patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Refugees, stakeholders, and researchers will identify and prioritize health concerns and community assets using community-driven methods. The CBRN will be created collaboratively with refugees and stakeholders to ensure long-term sustainability and inclusivity. In addition, the CBRN will form the infrastructure to share and apply future research findings.

We aim to develop a sustainable, collaborative CBRN to engage in health outcomes research in the Denver metro refugee community; identify health issues in the community from the perspective of refugees and service providers; create processes for the dissemination and implementation (D&I) of health research findings in the refugee community; and document and evaluate the CBRN creation process.

To achieve these goals, we will: recruit and train 18-25 CBRN members and 3-5 community liaisons; use qualitative inquiry with 40-50 refugees and stakeholders to identify health issues; collaboratively prioritize health topics for future research; engage refugees and stakeholders to create a D&I plan; and document the process of creating the CBRN to share publicly.

This project will create the CBRN infrastructure for conducting research with the refugee population with the long-term goal of improving refugee health outcomes in Denver. This project will produce a community-engaged research training curriculum for refugees, a prioritized health research agenda for the refugee community, and a tailored D&I plan for communicating PCOR findings within the refugee community.

The I-HEaRD project will engage the community of resettled refugees in the Denver metro area at every stage of the project. Refugees will be will be recruited as community liaisons and CBRN members. Refugees, service providers, clinicians, and other stakeholders will be asked to participate in interviews, focus groups and prioritization events as well as serve on the CBRN.

We will work with a variety of community organizations to reach the diverse refugee community, including the Colorado Refugee Service Program, the Colorado Providers for Integration Network, the Spring Institute, and resettlement agencies, among others.

Project Information

Sarah Brewer, MPA, BSW
University of Colorado – Denver

Key Dates

24 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: February 2, 2023