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Structural inequities and lack of resources put vulnerable refugee communities at great risk. Refugees flee their country of origin to escape persecution and flee from war, famine and torture. Resettled refugee communities become particularly vulnerable during times of crisis due to limited English proficiency and poor social determinants of health (SDOH), which create barriers to attaining and sustaining health and wellbeing for themselves and their families. The purpose of this case study was to evaluate SDOH among a refugee community in the Southeastern United States. We surveyed the community twice during a 1-year period to assess various elements of SDOH. Among a primarily African and Southeast Asian refugee community, 76% reported difficulty paying for food, housing and healthcare during the first round of surveys. During the second round of surveys at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, 70% reported lost income; 58% indicated concern about paying bills. There was little change during the 12-month study period, showing that SDOH are an enduring measure of poor health and wellbeing for this vulnerable refugee community.


Accepted manuscript version of an article published by Oxford University Press in Health Education Research, Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2021, Pages 170–177,