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Refugee Health Program: Medical Screening

Refugee medical screening is a thorough physical exam. It includes a full screening for diseases that can be spread from person to person.

The purpose of the screening is to:

  • Follow up on any medical issues found in the refugee’s overseas medical screening.
  • Prevent the spread of diseases that can be passed from person to person.
  • Find and treat health conditions that could keep a refugee from successfully resettling.
  • Connect refugees with a doctor for ongoing health care.
Doctor holding clipboard with papers discussing medical form with patient

See the complete Wisconsin Refugee Medical Screening Guidelines, P-02820 (PDF). Questions? Please contact the Refugee Health Program at savitri.tsering1@wisconsin.gov.

You can get a refugee medical screening if you are identified as a/an:

  • Refugee.
  • Asylee.
  • Cuban/Haitian entrant.
  • Victim of trafficking.
  • Amerasian.
  • Afghan or Ukrainian humanitarian parolee.
  • Special Immigrant Visa holder.

Clinics work with the resettlement agencies to plan clinic visits. Clinicians do the screenings. They are familiar with the screening process, culturally informed care, and working with interpreters.

Resettlement agencies work with clinics in their area. They schedule the first refugee medical screening and follow-up care.

The refugee medical screening should be a total health assessment. At a minimum, it should include:

  • A general medical exam including:
    • Health history and physical examination.
    • Immunization review and update.
    • Reproductive assessment.
    • Nutrition and growth assessment.
    • Dental, vision, and hearing exams.
  • General lab testing including:
    • A complete blood count with differential and platelets.
    • Urinalysis.
    • Blood glucose test.
    • Cholesterol levels for adults.
    • Metabolic panel for infants.
  • Mental health screening.
  • Infectious disease and environmental health screenings, including:
    • Lead testing (in children 6 months to 16 years of age).
    • Malaria screening (if history or symptoms warrant).
    • Intestinal parasites screening and/or precautionary treatment.
    • Sexually transmitted diseases screening, including:
      • Hepatitis B screening and vaccination.
      • Hepatitis C screening (if indicated).
      • HIV infection screening.
      • Syphilis.
      • Chlamydia.
      • Gonorrhea.

View the complete Refugee Medical Screening Guidance for Wisconsin Providers, P-02820 (PDF) (in accordance with the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Guidance for the U.S. Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arriving Refugees). Questions? Please contact the Refugee Health Program at savitri.tsering1@wisconsin.gov.

Refugees have many unique health concerns upon and after arrival. Special attention should be given to providing trauma-informed care, oral health, and screening for communicable diseases, which are not commonly seen in U.S.-born patients. A complete list can be found in the Refugee Medical Screening Guidance for Wisconsin Providers, P-02820. (PDF)

Providers are also encouraged to use CareRef. This is a tool that provides clinicians with individualized guidance on refugee medical screenings based on:

  • Current screening guidance from the CDC.
  • Demographic and geographic factors.
  • The specialized needs of refugee populations.

More resources

Newcomer Health Sessions by Colorado's Extension for Community Health Outcomes: Sessions designed to increase primary care providers' knowledge of health issues in newcomers, including refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) populations. Sign up required.

Domestic Medical Screening Guidelines Checklist (Word)—Office of Refugee Resettlement’s checklist for medical screening of both children and adults.

Guidelines for the U.S. Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arriving Refugees—A webpage by the CDC. It has guidance on various health issues and answers to frequently asked questions.

TB: Class B Arrivals — Wisconsin TB (Tuberculosis) Program’s webpage on TB arrivals with resources for testing and follow-up.

Clinical Assessment for Refugees — A tool for clinicians with screening information based on the most current guidelines.

Introduction Community Conversations: An Introduction to Female Genital Cutting (FGC) — A video by BRYCS' Community Conversations project that discusses the cultural roots, health consequences, and risk factors of FGC:

Catholic Charities Milwaukee Educational Videos:

Who to contact for help

Questions?

Last revised January 17, 2024