Chronic Pain within the Refugee Population: Evaluation and Treatment

  • Peter B. Polatin


Refugees are best served when their needs are addressed from the “bottom up”, that is, safety and security, a place to live, a means of support, a relationship of trust and empathic understanding, language and vocational training, family engagement, and health education which incorporates cultural competence and reassurance. Providers must reach out either by personally becoming aware of cultural issues or by utilizing a “culture broker.” The key tool to a seamless management of the health of refugees, including pain management, requires comprehensive case management, which embodies the “bottom-up approach.” Too often, these services are not available, and refugees subsequently suffer at the bottom of the social ladder, receiving neither the integrative services required nor the health care that is necessary for their transition to productivity.


Refugee health refugee mental health chronic pain in refugees cultural competence “bottom-up” approach for treating refugees 



Many thanks to Elaine Sullo, reference librarian, Himmelfarb Medical Library, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter B. Polatin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.International Rescue CommitteeDallasUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  3. 3.Harvard Program in Refugee TraumaCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.Global Mental Health, Department of PsychiatryGeorge Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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