Events Take Action

Housing for Refugee Health and Wellbeing: 6th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit

University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, Office of Global Health Initiatives, Community for Global Health Equity | April 13, 2019, 9 am-4 pm

Housing for Refugee Health and Wellbeing: 6th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
955 Main Street
Room 1220
Buffalo, New York 14203


The built environment, or the human-made surroundings in which people live, work, and recreate, has direct and indirect effects on physical and poor mental health. Poor housing conditions - exposure to toxins, insufficient daylight, inadequate ventilation and insulation, isolation or crowding - are associated with respiratory infections, lead poisoning, and mental health. Quality affordable housing is also becoming scarce - lessees may not know their rights and fall victim to property owner violations.

For Buffalo's New Americans, poor housing conditions worsen physical and mental health and wellbeing. New Americans seek more adequate training on their rights and opportunities. Current and future health care providers seek to understand the link between their home environment and health. Researchers seek to uncover deep connections between the built environment and health.

The 6th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit will take place on Saturday, April 13th, from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (955 Main St, Room 1220). It is is an opportunity for New Americans, health care providers, and researchers to convene, and collaboratively explore ways in which housing can be a lever for improving health in Buffalo, NY. The 2019 Summit will: 

  • Examine Buffalo's housing crisis,
  • Explore the links between housing and health,
  • Recommend policies to improve housing for better health of refugees, and
  • Identify innovative practices that improve mental and physical health for New Americans.

For further questions contact Jessica Scates at If you have an interest in setting up a table at this year's event, please contact Ariana Martinez at 

Check out the event webpage here and register to attend here

Schedule of Events

9:00am: Check In

9:30am: Welcome and Announcements

  • Dr. Kaisa Kordas, Co-Director, Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity
  • Jessica Lazarin, Director, Office for New Americans, City of Buffalo
  • Jessica Scates, Coordinator, WNY Refugee Health Summit 

10:00am: Keynote Address 

10:45am: Panel, Buffalo's Housing Crisis 

  • Lila Rollo, American Integration Program Coordinator, International Institute of Buffalo
  • Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Executive Director, Partnership for the Public Good
  • Daniel J. Corbitt, Associate Director, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)

11:30am: The Links Between Housing and Wellbeing

  • Dr. Yeeli Mui, Postdoctoral Associate, Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity, University at Buffalo
  • Dr. Erkin Özay, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo

Community Response: Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Executive Director, Partnership for the Public Good

12:15pm: Lunch

1:00pm: Panel, Innovative Mental Health Care Practices 

  • John Starkey, Principal, Lafayette International High School
  • Ali Kadhum, Care Manager, BestSelf Behavioral Health
  • Jeanette Koncikowski, Executive Director, Grassroots Gardens WNY
  • Virginia Barron, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Buffalo String Works

1:45pm: Panel, Intergenerational Perspectives on Mental Health 

2:30pm: Activity, Responding to Our Community's Needs

3:30pm: Closing