Posts from the Dominican Republic: Refugee Care at Caritas Dominican

SRP 280x280Adler School faculty and clinical psychologists Nataka Moore and Kevin Osten-Garner along with students in our Human Rights & International Immersion course with Heartland Alliance are in the Dominican Republic this month working with community agencies on a number of fronts: creating community-level education & prevention interventions for internalized stigmas related to homophobia & heterosexism, domestic violence, and harm-reduction strategies for substance use and HIV.

From the Dominican Republican, doctoral student in clinical psychology Latrice Patrick writes:

Today, we had the pleasure of visiting Caritas Dominican, a faith-based clinic that provides a multitude of treatment services, including mental health care to the poor and marginalized people.

During the visit, we had an opportunity to learn about the number of things the organization has been doing to better serve the community. It offers a program for women who are victims of violence, and has also partnered with Lasos Dignity Tides, a refugee organization. The physicians, nurses, and staff work extremely hard to ensure that patients receive the care they need.

The staff has a system in place to provide treatment: They first meet with the social worker, who determines the kind of care needed in order to refer the person to the appropriate doctor or specialist. The staff informed us that earlier this year they began providing services to the refugee population to ensure they are receiving adequate health care. They disclosed that many refugees come to Caritas feeling as if they have been cast aside and that no one will listen to them.

We also learned that many within the refugee population are being diagnosed with various forms of cancer, particularly prostate and breast cancers.

Caritas Dominican incorporates faith along with their treatment. The staff is very patient and accepting of the individuals who receive treatment, providing a safe space for refugees and other populations to share their stories without fear of judgment.