Please Note: This project was originally awarded to the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). On October 1, 2002, Khmer Health Advocates (KHA) became the fiscal agent for the project.
Khmer Health Advocates (KHA) and its partners will create a telemedicine network to address health issues faced by Cambodian Americans who were victims of trauma and torture in their homelands. The KHA will place video conferencing equipment and peripherals in health care facilities as well as community centers and pagodas, where Cambodian Americans congregate. The torture victims will be linked through videoconference technology to specialists across the nation. These specialists are among the few experts in treating the disorders associated with the level of trauma these people have experienced. The network will also be used to collect data that can be analyzed and shared with peers involved in providing service to Cambodian American torture victims. In addition, the network will be used to provide health information in Khmer, the native language of Cambodian Americans. The project will also test the effectiveness of placing videoconferencing capabilities in the homes of those who are most in need of complex care. In-home telemedicine technology will enable the caregivers to monitor treatment on a daily basis, and help ensure that the patient is actually following the doctor's treatment orders.
Nearly half of all Cambodian Americans live below the poverty level. Of the approximately 200,000 who survived traumatic experiences in their native countries, many continue to suffer from debilitating illnesses, lack strong English-language skills, are home-bound, and live far away from appropriate health care settings. Videoconferencing for medical interpreter services, compliance with treatment programs, health education, and mental health services can reduce disabilities and the risk of early death in refugee populations. The project will significantly improve the quality of care refugees currently receive by providing them access to specialized consultation and treatment and to linguistically and culturally appropriate health education and prevention materials. In addition, the project will greatly contribute to the knowledge base of how to provide care for refugees by facilitating the collection, analysis and dissemination of data, and by providing a means to educate health care providers and support personnel.It is vital that such a system be tested so that its use can become widespread among refugee populations across the nation who face similar barriers to health care.
The Khmer Health Advocates will partner with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center to implement this telemedicine project. In addition, community partners will include the Association of Religious Communities in Danbury, CT, and the Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Leverett, MA.