new americansEconomic, social and political disparities have defined the lives of many patients at the UVM Children’s Hospital Pediatric New American Clinic.

One of the many concepts guiding Andrea Green, MD, in her work for the Clinic is the concept of “cultural safety.” Dr. Green says her role – and that of the Clinic team – is to demystify the relationship between caregiver and patients, shifting the dynamic so that the relationship is shared between the family and the caregiver, and patients can feel free to be their authentic selves with their providers.

This shift not only improves the relationship between caregiver and the patient and family – it makes for better care overall.

“Everyone loves their children,” says Dr. Green. “Everyone would do anything to protect their children. That is universal.  It is our responsibility as caregivers to partner with these families to help them protect their children. Earning their trust is an essential part of this equation.”

This work extends beyond hospital walls.  The team recently put on its 5thannual New American Safety Festival, where providers offer information on car seat, bicycle safety and other aspects of daily life. Camp Splash was started by a former Pediatric resident, John Cole, MD,  in partnership with the YMCA, to help refugee kids learn to swim.

All Are Welcome

all are welcomeSymbolism is an important part of their work as well. Late in 2016, Dr. Green partnered with Burlington High School (BHS) International Club to develop an “All Are Welcome” Symbol that would demonstrate support for our refugee population. The BHS students developed the symbol of a dove sitting in a nest of hands symbolizing migration, peace, and welcoming.

That symbol is now on display at the UVM Children’s Hospital Pediatric Primary Clinic and in shops and schools throughout the state and around the country.  Dr. Green and Radhika Tamang, a BHS student, presented the symbol and the work behind it at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Annual Leadership Forum in 2017, where all 50 states are represented. As a result and with the support of the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees, the symbol is now on display at hospitals as far away as California.

“It started here in Burlington – and now you can see it around the country,” says Dr. Green. “But more importantly, it’s a symbol that speaks to the power of testimonial therapy. In the process of developing and advocating for this symbol, kids who were really afraid to speak out have found their voice.”

The UVM Children’s Hospital Pediatric New American Clinic

The UVM Children’s Hospital Pediatric New American Clinic provides primary care to children relocated from war-torn areas to Burlington through the US Refugee Resettlement Program. Throughout the year, the Clinic goes beyond check-ups and vaccinations to help refugees learn how to cope with the unfamiliar risks of life in the U.S.

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