The Immigrant Health Equity Project is bringing health providers and immigrant community members together to develop a transformative vision of healthcare for immigrant children and youth in New Jersey. During the summer and fall of 2020, we conducted dozens of listening sessions with youth leaders, organizers, and New Jersey service providers. Immigrant youth mental health, and a lack of resources to support it, was one of their top concerns. As the Consortium’s coalition grows to include more healthcare and social workers, academics, and community organizations, we saw an opportunity to help bring about meaningful change to the healthcare system. This project is devoted to identifying immigrant community needs and sharing best practices.
The project brings together two groups to work side by side: the Mental Health Advocates and Immigrant Health Allies. The Mental Health Advocates are self-identifying immigrant youth and first-generation Americans, ranging in age from early teens to mid-20s, who are passionate about mental health and want to share their stories and experiences so that mental health services for immigrants in New Jersey become more equitable and efficient in the future. The Immigrant Health Allies are a group of healthcare providers, social workers, scholars, and other practitioners who work in or study the healthcare system and have a demonstrated track record of work on health equity and access for marginalized communities. Because this project grew out of immigrant youth’s concerns, it has a mental health focus, and will take an integrative approach to supporting mental health across the entire healthcare system and related social services.