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Families Together of Orange County Honored for Work in Afghan Refugee Resettlement Program



TUSTIN, Calif., May 11, 2022 – This week, the Orange County Board of Supervisors honored Families Together of Orange County along with several other partner agencies for its hard work, and proactive response to help meet the needs of the community in the Afghan Refugee Resettlement Program.

With over 300 Afghan refugees arriving in Orange County over the course of three months, and only one Refugee Resettlement Agency to assist the families, the Orange County Healthcare Agency formed a partnership with the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers to help perform health assessments within the 90-day requirement. The Coalition then enlisted some of its member health centers, including Families Together of Orange County, to help tackle the health assessment backlog.

Since January, Families Together has helped more than 60 refugees by providing health assessments that include screening and treatment of diseases, identifying chronic diseases, assessing immunization status, providing mental health screenings, and referring those with significant medical and mental health conditions to health providers for further evaluations. 

Haidee Hernandez-Gomez, Programs Manager at Families Together of Orange County, has led the Afghan Refugee Health Assessment program for the health center. She says:

“We were brought in to do a health assessment, but in the process, we have formed relationships with these families and helped detect life threatening diseases. We’ve connected them to specialists and organizations to help get them the resources they need. As a community health center, we have been able to assist with immediate medical and wellness needs on-site with services such as dental care and mental health evaluations. In some cases these health assessments have actually helped save lives.”

In February, with many refugees close to reaching the 90-day mark for completing their health assessments, the Coalition and its member health centers took a strategic approach to address the need. Within weeks, two health events were organized in partnership with the OC Health Care Agency and the Orange County Social Services Agency. Through these health fairs, a total of 96 refugees were provided health assessments. 

Community Health Centers are known for their ability to be nimble and quickly mobilize operations. Now that health centers have had experience with refugee health assessments, they are well positioned to continue assisting other refugees. The partnership formed to operationalize the Refugee Health Assessment program continues to demonstrate the importance and power in coming together to take care of the needs of our community. Families Together is proud to partake in the County’s effort to process refugees and will continue to contribute its variety of services to future refugees settling in Orange County.

Families Together of Orange County provides medical, dental, vision, wellness and mental health services and provides tools for all community members to be able to access essential care.

About Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center

Since 2003, Families Together of Orange County Community Health Center (FTOC) has proudly served the Orange County community with a myriad of health services while providing a welcoming, multi-lingual and patient – centered medical home to all. FTOC is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, FQHC look-alike, a member of the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers and the California Primary Care Association.

Please visit www.familiestogetheroc.org for more information on Families Together of Orange County and for the latest updates.