INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – New grant funds will help improve the health outcomes of the growing Burmese population in Indianapolis.
Franciscan Health says it has worked with the community for more than 10 years. The new funding will enable better individual support.
Around 25,000 Burmese refugees live in the Indianapolis area. According to Franciscan Health, Burmese have some of the highest poverty rates and lowest rates in English proficiency at the national level, and both are often incorporated into medical access. Removing these barriers, the organizers hope, will result in longer and healthier lives.
Burmese refugees made their way to Indianapolis in large numbers about 10 years ago. Many chose to live on the south side of Indianapolis. But coming from Burma, health care was often not a priority or easily accessible.
“Back in Burma there was no health care. In general, medical care was not available. So there is no annual or just general screening, ”said Burmese health advocate Nancy Sui.
Sui is from Burma. She said that access to health care can be difficult for everyone, but especially the elderly.
“Of course there is definitely a language barrier in the community because many older generations don’t speak.”
At the start of the new year, Franciscan Health received nearly $ 185,000 to improve health care. The money will provide culturally appropriate personal support by helping patients gain access to health and human services. Support will also come from Burmese health workers and other agencies, including the Burmese American Community Institute and the Indiana Chin Community.
“Like many Catholic hospitals, Franciscan Health is truly committed to the health of the most vulnerable in all of our communities,” said Kate Hill-Johnson, administrative director for community health improvement at Franciscan Health.
Representatives said the hospital has served the Burmese community since the arrival of the largest groups of refugees about 10 years ago, and needs have changed over time.
“Now let’s look at these traditional chronic diseases that occur in old age,” said Hill-Johnson.
With the list of asylum seekers, the Burmese population should continue to grow. Lawyers said the time has come to strengthen health systems.
Mental health, like some other communities, remains a taboo subject. In addition to the grants, Burmese advocates will increase mental health support.