Community-based rehabilitation research
Our team spans multiple roles and stretches across continents. It includes 20+ IHP graduate students in multiple disciplines, IHP faculty members, and 30+ contributors in Jordan, including a project manager, rehabilitation volunteers, and community-workers.
Our Stakeholders include:
- United Nations for Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
- The Jordanian Higher Council of the Rights of People with Disability: Both UNRWA and the Higher Council help us coordinate who needs training and where in Jordan
- World Health Organization (WHO)- Community Based Rehabilitation: Our model and materials are based on content from WHO
- The Refugee Dream Center- Rhode Island: The Dream Center is our research partner and assists us in Arabic language material translation
- The MGH Health Disparities Unit: We develop interventions for refugees with assistance from this MGH unit
More than one billion people worldwide live with a disability, yet rehabilitation professionals are scarce in low- and middle-income countries. Attempts to expand access to rehabilitation services have encountered barriers on multiple levels: limited resources on the systemic level, hierarchies on the professional level, and cultural stigma on the community level. We sought to determine if an academic-community partnership could overcome multiple levels of barriers to expand services for people with disabilities.
Alheresh, R. and Cahn, P.S., 2020. Expanding Global Rehabilitation Services through International Academic-Community Partnerships. Annals of Global Health, 86(1), p.71. http://doi.org/10.5334/aogh.2876
The lack of training and education of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) workers poses one of the most significant barriers to receiving effective occupational, physical and speech therapy for individuals with disabilities in Low-to-Middle Income Countries (LMIC), especially in countries with significant refugee populations. The aim of this study was to successfully implement a telehealth support system for CBR workers, evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of this intervention’s implementation among CBR workers in the CBR setting, and further identify strategies to address the deficit of skilled rehabilitation workers in LMIC through technological intervention.
Bria Mitchell-Gillespie, B., Hashim, H., Griffin, M., and AlHeresh, R., 2020. Sustainable support solutions for community-based rehabilitation workers in refugee camps: piloting telehealth acceptability and implementation. Globalization and Health, 16:82 https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040031
Individuals with disabilities face marginalization in society and are more likely to experience depression compared to the general population. Despite this, the health system in Jordan is not adequately equipped to screen for or manage depression as a comorbid condition. This study fills in gaps concerning the prevalence of depression and its correlates among Jordanian adults with a physical disability. Professionals in Jordan, including rehab specialists, have a role in both screening for and preventing depression, and this study acts as a point of reference for these professionals.
Griffin M, Mitchell-Gillespie B, Hashim H, AlHeresh R. Predicting Depression among Jordanian Adults with Disabilities According to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: A Pilot Study. Disabilities. 2021; 1(4):450-458. https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040031
A social determinant of health, migration, if forced, impacts health negatively in refugees and asylum seekers for several disease outcomes. This is the first systematic review and meta-analysis assessing cardiovascular disease incidence and risk factors among refugees and asylum seekers.
Al-Rousan, T., AlHeresh, R., Saadi, A., El-Sabrout, H., Young, M., Benmarhnia, T., Han, B. H., & Alshawabkeh, L. (2022). Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors among refugees and asylum seekers: Systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Cardiology Cardiovascular Risk and Prevention, 12, 200126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcrp.2022.200126
Refugees face significantly worse mental health outcomes compared to the general population within their host country. While there is a strong need for refugee-specific mental health programs, very few exist within the United States. Utilizing Community-based Participatory Research methods, a community-based mental health intervention for refugees is under development. This study shared the in-development intervention with refugees, holding a series of three focus groups to gain feedback on the intervention content and determine acceptability.
Hillegass, S. (OTD '22), & AlHeresh, R. (2022). Community-based mental health for refugees: A qualitative study to inform intervention development. 2022 North American Refugee Health Conference, Cleveland, Ohio.