Our City of Nations 2020
November 12-13, 2020
"On Common Ground: Becoming Together with Refugees and Immigrants"
This fourth multidisciplinary conference offered a variety of topics that addressed issues that refugees and immigrants face as they settle into their new home alongside of us. The conference theme of "On Common Ground: Becoming Together with Refugees and Immigrants" looked at these issues from both the newly arrived and those that have been here for a long time.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 OCON conference was held in a virtual format and drew over 240 professionals across academia, public education, behavioral health, social services, government organizations, and corporate partners.
Over 160 students from across the State and across 12 different training programs also participated in a special session. This experience increased their cultural sensitivity as future professionals who will serve the diversity of communities. They received an overview of refugee resettlement in the US, an introduction to cultural humility, and a look at the history of refugee populations in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Please contact Amber Rios with questions at email@example.com.
Previous Conference Information
Since 2015, this multidisciplinary conference has occurred every 18 months and been organized by a dedicated group of academic, community-based, and governmental stakeholders who are collaborating to make Milwaukee and our State of Wisconsin a more welcoming community for all. Following the inaugural conference, a Consensus statement on best practices for refugee care in Wisconsin was collaboratively written and published.
To understand the refugee resettlement process in Milwaukee, please view this summary (PDF).
The fourth conference in 2020 was held virtually November 12-13
2020 Program (PDF)
Day 1: Thursday, November 12
Welcome to Our City of Nations (a pre-recording to be emailed to all participants on Nov. 10)
These opening remarks will welcome conference participants to the fourth Our City of Nations conference and give a brief history of how this meeting began.
- Welcome conference participants
- Learn the history of the conference and the impetus for this year’s theme
- Provide an overview of the meeting’s program, the conference logistics, and how to engage with other participants and the presenters
- Stephen Hargarten; Associate Dean for Global Health, Medical College of Wisconsin
- Dr. Sebastian Ssempijja, CEO and Clinic Director, Sebastian Family Psychology Practice
- Tifany Frazer, Office of Global Health Manager, Medical College of Wisconsin
Who is the Refugee? | 9:00-10:00 am
Award-winning author Kao Kalia Yang, herself a refugee, will speak to her journey into the world of stories, her understanding of her family's refugee story, and read from her new book, Somewhere in the Unknown World, a collective memoir of fourteen refugee stories all happening in shared space and time.
To further understand...
- the diversity of our current refugees;
- the power of stories in addressing and reckoning with trauma;
- how refugee writers are shaping and addressing refugee populations beyond their own.
Presenter: Kao Kalia Yang, Writer
Becoming Together through Food | 10:30 am-12:00 pm
Learn about the creation and experience of Tables Across Borders, the sold-out sensation that brought the community together by highlighting refugee cooks and the food they love.
Objective: Expand notions of community-building by illustrating the unique connective power of sharing food traditions.
- Kai Gardner-Mishlove, Creator and Program Coordinator, Refugee Health and Social Services , Advocate Aurora Walkers Point Community Clinic
- Gregory Leon, Amilinda restaurant owner
- Caitlin Cullen, The Tandem restaurant owner
- Christie Melby-Givens, Tricklebee Café restaurant owner
- Natasa Torbica, TAB Chef
- Po Too, Community Health Worker, Advocate Aurora Health
Caring for Refugee Patients: A Crash Course on Cultural Humility, Clinical Considerations, and Local Resources | 1:00-3:00 pm
This session is designed for learners of all backgrounds (undergraduate, graduate, medical, pharmacy, physician assistant) interested in learning more about the refugee resettlement process as well as Milwaukee's refugee populations and unique considerations when it comes to providing healthcare to this population. The general overview session will include an overview of refugee resettlement in the US, an introduction to cultural humility, and a look at the history of refugees in Milwaukee. Attendees will them cycle through three smaller sessions that include:
- Clinical Considerations and Medical Intake
- Systems: Federal, State, and Local Laws and Resources
- Personal Experiences with Resettlement
Objective: Orient learners to the refugee resettlement process and the concept of cultural humility in order to further discuss the medical considerations and familiarity with local resources required to provide refugees with comprehensive medical care.
- Alana Petrassi, Third Year Medical Student, Medical College of Wisconsin
- Dr. Caitlin Kaeppler, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin
- Dr. Bryan Johnston, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin
- Claire Reuning, Refugee Immigration Specialist, Catholic Charities
- Mary Flynn, Program Supervisor, Reugee Resettlement, Lutheran Social Services
- Farok Rashid, UW-Milwaukee biology student
- Apiew Ojulu, Concordia University pharmacy student
- Dr. Michael Toppe, Assistant Professor of Didactic Medical Education, Concordia University-Wisconsin
- Edumakono Zetho, Case Manager, Catholic Charities
- Iaong Vang, First year medical student, Medical College of Wisconsin
Partnering to Serve Better: Private and Public Sector Collaborations | 3:00-4:15 pm
This is a session featuring various collaborations between public and private entities working in partnership to serve refugee and immigrant health needs. This includes a report-out from the Refugee Health Promotion grant focus groups, MCW’s experience with Mock Medical Visits, and various clinical and community approaches to mental health.
- To share best practices that enable success of collaborations and partnerships
- To explore next steps amid the COVID-19 disruptions
- Dr. Sebastian Ssempijja
- Mai Zong Vue
- Dr. Fred Coleman
- Savitri Tsering
- Caitlin Kaeppler
Day 2: Friday, November 13
Witness and Testimony from the Frontlines: On Providing Psychological Care During a Pandemic | 8:00-9:15 am
This session highlights the various needs that arise during war and pandemics over generations, and highlights the people on the ground who seek to adapt and respond to these needs.
- To narrate the “why” and “how” in regards to the needs of services amid these crises.
- To personalize and humanize the frontline work in Beni Congo, Northern Uganda, Somaliland, Meru Kenya and other hot spots for human suffering
- To identify the humanity amidst agony and suffering
- Dr. Sebastian Sempijja
- Dr. Fred Coleman
Becoming Together with Refugee Students in the Classroom | 9:30-10:45 am
This session will explore community-building partnerships that play out in the classroom, bringing students together through civic engagement and mutual learning.
- To share effective educational strategies for working with and learning from refugee students
- To highlight examples of engaging refugee youth as co-educators and active citizens
- Samantha Epstein, School Support Teacher, South Division High School
- Erin Sivek, English/ESL Teacher, International Newcomer Center @ MACL
- Michael Yunker, ESL Teacher, South Division High School
- Dr. Kourosh Hassani, ESL Teacher Leader, MPS Department of Bilingual Multicultural Education
- Laura Vargo, ESL Teacher Leader, MPS Department of Bilingual Multicultural Education
- Maria Varela, ESL/ELL Teacher Specialist, Zablocki Community School
Model of Care for Torture Treatment and Program Evaluation: Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center | 11:00 am-12:15 pm
A community-based, multi-disciplinary approach to healing from torture.
To further understand...
- Multi-system impact of torture and trauma particular to asylum seekers and refugees;
- A multi-disciplinary model for helping torture survivors heal;
- What we are learning from effective evaluation.
- Marianne Joyce, LCSW, Manager of Support Services
- Madeleine Pattis, BA, Senior Case Manager
- Martin Hill, PhD, Associate Director for Research and Evaluation
Addressing Healthcare Needs of The Rohingyan Refugee Community Via Interpretive Videos | 1:00-2:00 pm
Concordia University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy Faculty and Students in collaboration with Hayat Pharmacy staff and MCW Faculty and Students worked to create videos that translate how to navigate the healthcare system to treat common disease currently facing the Rohingyan community.
- Describe the process for creating the videos
- Assess perceived impact on Rohingyan community
- Discuss future directions for project
- Dr. James Lokken PharmD, MS, MEd, BCACP, Assistant Professor CUWSOP
- Thong Lee, Student Pharmacist CUWSOP
- Emily Mauer, Student Pharmacist CUWSOP
- Camille Ortiz Rivera, Student Pharmacist CUWSOP
Finding Identity and Community in a New Life | 2:30-3:30 pm
Syrian-American Artist Fadia Afashe and Actor Jay Abdo share their journey to rebuild their lives in the United States, and their efforts to regain a sense of home through art, community and civic engagement.
- To explore some of the unique and shared challenges refugees face in rebuilding professional careers in a new country
- Discuss how active participation in community can reshape identities
- Highlight how art can bring diverse communities together in support of refugees
- Fadia Afashe, Artist
- Jay Abdo, Actor
Closing Remarks: Looking to the Future | 3:15 pm or a pre-recording
- To reflect on the conference and its themes
- To look ahead and plan for the future, bearing those themes in mind
- Dr. Tim Ehlinger
- Dr. Kathie-Culhane Pera
- Dr. Kajua Betsy Lor
- Additional brief pre-recorded remarks: Bojana Zoric Martinez, State Refugee Coordinator