Siloam Health working with Metro to impact COVID-19 patients in immigrant communities

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 22:08:10-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A local immigrant healthcare organization is bringing on more community health workers to help local communities that have been impacted by COVID-19.

Siloam Health is bringing on five new employees in partnership with Metro Health to reach into various immigrant communities that reside in Nashville.

South Nashville is one of the heaviest hit areas by Coronavirus. According to a spokesperson for Siloam Health, those communities may have been impacted because the workers that come from there are essential.

"Ordinarily, about 95% of our patients are refugees and immigrants," said Amy Richardson, Chief Community Health Officer at Siloam Health. "So, we've been serving these communities that have been really hard hit by the pandemic. It's not because refugees and immigrants are different it's because they are our essential workers a lot of times. These workers haven't had the same luxury to stay at home or to take the protective measures like the rest of us have. So, they've been more prone to get sick."

One of the group's community health workers is a Bhutanese Refugee. Hannah Rai meets with members from the 5,000 or so refugees who live mainly in South Nashville. Rai's job is to help people adjust to life in America, including making doctors visits.

"Our people. We have five family members staying in the same home. It's difficult to make social distance. So, people are still struggling with those things," said Rai.

She normally has one-on-one meetings with people. The Coronavirus is a big concern for her now.

"We're connected to the community group leaders and then we're just working like, not only provide food and resources, we're just trying to [walk] with them," she said.

Nashville is home to several refugee communities, including Sudanese, Congolese and Kurdish people.