North American Refugee Health Conference

Invited Speakers & Agenda

woman presenting

Award-Winning Author: Kao Kalia Yang

We’re welcoming an outstanding lineup of refugee and immigrant health speakers at our North American Refugee Health Conference. This year our day 1 headline keynote is the wonderfully talented Kao Kalia Yang, Hmong American award-winning author, teacher, and speaker. She will be following her keynote with book signings. You don’t want to miss this!

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Internationally-Recognized Peace Activist: Professor Izzeldin Abuelaish

Our headline keynote for day 2 is the inspiring, internationally-recognized human rights and peace activist, Professor Izzeldin Abuelaish. Prof. Abuelaish is a Palestinian Canadian physician devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East. He has dedicated his life to using health as a vehicle for peace.

Kalia and Prof. Abuelaish are just two of the AMAZING line up sharing their wisdom this year. Read more about our invited speakers and their topics below.

Additionally we’ll have workshops, oral abstracts and posters (detailed conference agenda will be available ~June 2024).

Topics & Speakers

Kao Kalia Yang: Award-Winning Author

Kao Kalia Yang

The Impossible Happens in the Life of the Refugee Everyday

A local, independent bookstore will be onsite to sell copies of Kalia’s book and Kalia has graciously offered book signings for attendees!

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American teacher, speaker, and writer. Her work crosses audiences and genres. She is the award-winning author of the memoirs, The Latehomecomer, The Song Poet, Somewhere in the Unknown World, and Where Rivers Part. Yang co-edited the groundbreaking book, What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color. She is a librettist for the The Song Poet Opera (commissioned by the MN Opera). Her children’s books, A Map Into the World, The Most Beautiful Thing, The Shared Room, Yang Warriors, From the Tops of the Trees, and The Rock in My Throat center Hmong children and families who live in our world, who dream and hurt and hope in it.

Yang’s work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, as Notable Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, the Heartland Bookseller’s Award, and garnered four Minnesota Book Awards.

Yang is McKnight, Soros, and Guggenheim fellow.

Professor Izzeldin Abuelaish: Human Rights & Peace Activist

Professor Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish MSC, OOnt, MD, MPH, M. Hon. LLD., Litt D., D. Sc., D.H.L

Prof. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian Canadian physician and an internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East. He has dedicated his life to using health as a vehicle for peace, and, despite all odds, succeeded, aided by a great determination of spirit, strong faith, and a stalwart belief in hope and family. He is a man who walks the walk and who leads by example.

Prof.  Izzeldin Abuelaish was born and raised in Jabalia Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. Through his work, he has experienced firsthand the impacts of conflict in countries like Palestine, Egypt, Israel, Uganda, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. His experience working as both an insider and outsider to conflict has led him to believe that doctors are particularly well-poised to serve as peacemakers, based on the moral doctrine of their profession. His work as both a healthcare practitioner and a peace advocate build on this philosophy and mobilizes health as a tool for peace. Prof. Abuelaish believes that medicine and health can be an engine for the human peace. Health and medicine are human equalizer, socializer, harmonizer and stabilizer. He continues to advocate for justice, health, peace, and human rights worldwide.

Prof. Abuelaish has overcome many personal hardships, including poverty, violence, and the horrific tragedy of his three daughters’ and niece’s deaths in the 2009 Gaza War. He continues to live up to the description bestowed upon him by an Israeli colleague, as a “magical, secret bridge between Israelis and Palestinians” and in the world. He is now one of the most outspoken, prominent, and beloved researchers, educators and public speakers on peace and development in the Middle East.

Prof. Abuelaish has been nominated five times for Nobel peace Prize, and he is fondly known as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi and the “Martin Luther King of the Middle East”, having dedicated his life to using health as a vehicle for peace. Despite all odds, he has succeeded remarkably; aided by a great determination of spirit, strong faith, and a stalwart belief in hope and family. The Belgian Parliament named him the “Martin Luther King of the Middle East”. Again in 2016, Mr. Jean Marc Delizee from the Belgian Parliament nominated Dr. Abuelaish for the 2016 Noble Peace Prize and remarked that “Our world has more than ever need peace ambassadors such as him, of men and women capable of building bridges and links between people and between peoples.”

Many influential figures within the diplomatic community have spoken exaltingly of  Prof. Abuelaish’ work. In his nomination for the Sakharov Prize, Dr. David Naylor, then President of the University of Toronto, called Prof. Abuelaish a remarkable ambassador for peace and an exemplar of forgiveness and reconciliation.  The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering spoke of him in his speech in Strasbourg, Germany at the opening of the exhibition “From Hebron to Gaza”. President Barak Obama referred to him as an example of strength and reconciliation in his address on May 19th, 2011.  when he discussed the possibility of peace within the Middle East. And the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to cited Prof. Abuelaish in his speech Walk for Solidarity: Kindness and forgiveness are not signs of weakness but strength. It needs more courage to be nice and make peace than to be angry and want revenge.

Prof.  Abuelaish’ impact on peace-seeking communities is exceptional. He is an internationally renowned speaker, having spoken at the Canadian House of Commons, the American Congress, the Chilean Senate, and Parliament, the European Parliament at Place Du Luxembourg in Brussels, the State Department, Forum 2000 in Prague, and many more. Dr. Abuelaish has also spoken at academic institutions and organizations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa, and Australia  and Asia.

In addition to speaking to live audiences, Prof. Abuelaish has been interviewed extensively by leading journalists and prominent personalities, including Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, Sir David Frost and Zeinab Badawi, and has appeared on prominent media outlets such as BBC News Hard Talk, Fox News Channel (FOX), CNN, Al Arabiya News, London’s The Telegraph, ABC, TVO, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Boston Globe, People Magazine.

Prof. Abuelaish’ book, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, an autobiography of his loss and transformation, has achieved worldwide critical acclaim. Published in 2010, (currently in 23 different languages), and inspired by the loss of his three daughters – Bessan, Mayar, and Aya – and their cousin Noor to Israeli shelling on January 16th, 2009, the book has become a national and international bestseller. It has also become a testament to his commitment to forgiveness as the solution to conflict and the catalyst towards peace.

Elis Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureat said about the book I Shall Not Hate: This story is a necessary lesson against hatred and revenge.

President Jimmy Carter said: in his book, Dr Abuelaish has expressed a remarkable commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation that describes the foundation for a permanent peace in the Holy Land.

The daily telegraph: A great work of insight and compassion that tries to point the way towards peace and reconciliation… If there is to be peace in the Middle East, it will come through men and women of the giant stature and epic capacity for forgiveness.

Sunday times: A remarkable study of compassion, and of daily life in the Gaza Strip

Prof. Abuelaish believes that hatred is a chronic, contagious, and destructive disease. He focuses his research to promote awareness about the impact of hatred on health and wellbeing, and how to prevent spread of this destructive disease through positive resilience, tolerance, compassion and reconciliation.

Prof. Abuelaish’ extensive list of awards and honors include countless national and international awards including 18 honorary doctorate degrees, The order of Ontario, The Meritorious Service Cross, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, The Governor General’s Medallion,  The PAHL Peace Prize, the World Citizenship in Action Award, presented by the Canadian Branch of the Registry; the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award of Canada; the Foundation P&V Citizenship Award; the Calgary Peace Prize; the Lombardy Region Peace Prize, the Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship; Prof. Abuelaish has been named one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants; one of the 500 Most Powerful Arabs; and one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategies Centre in Jordan for five consecutive years. He was one of three finalists for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Prof. Abuelaish has also been named one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants; one of the 500 Most Powerful Arabs; and one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategies Centre in Jordan for five consecutive years.

Prof. Abuelaish has founded Daughters for Life a Canadian charity, in memory of his daughters and to honor his commitment to women’s empowerment.  Daughters for Life that provides young women in high school and university the opportunity to pursue higher education so that they can become strong agents of change and advocates of peace; functions of women’s vital  role in improving the quality of life throughout the Middle East and the world at large.

Currently, Prof. Abuelaish lives in Toronto where he is a Full Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He remains deeply committed to his humanitarian activism in addition to his roles as a charity leader and inspirational educator.

Dr. Paul Spiegel: Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health

Paul B. Spiegel, MD MPH 

Reimagining the Humanitarian System

Dr. Spiegel, a Canadian physician and epidemiologist by training, is one of the few humanitarians in the world that both responds to and researches humanitarian emergencies. He is internationally recognized for his research on preventing and responding to humanitarian emergencies, and more recently broader issues of migration. Beginning in 1992 as a Medical Coordinator responding to the refugee crisis for the “lost boys of Sudan” in Kenya, Dr. Spiegel has responded to and managed numerous humanitarian crises in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East for over 30 years. Most recently he managed the emergency response for WHO in Afghanistan (Nov/Dec 2021) and in Europe for the Ukrainian refugees (Mar/Apr 2022). 

Dr. Spiegel is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health and Professor of the Practice in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). Before JHSPH, Dr. Spiegel was the Deputy Director of Program Support and Management and the Chief of Public Health at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He previously worked as a Medical Epidemiologist in the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, a Medical Coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in refugee emergencies, and has been a consultant for numerous international organizations including the Canadian Red Cross and WHO.

Dr. Anisa Ibrahim: Harborview Pediatrics Clinic

Anisa Ibrahim, MD, FAAP

Hardship and Hope; A Provider’s Journey in Refugee Health

Anisa Ibrahim, MD, FAAP is a UW Clinic Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the medical director at Harborview Pediatrics Clinic. Dr Ibrahim’s specific clinical interests include caring for and outreach to immigrant and refugee populations, specifically those with medical or social complexity. Dr Ibrahim is a strong advocate for community focused work and partnerships. Nationally, she serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health, health equity boards, and the Society of Refugee Healthcare Providers Refugee Review Board.

Drs. Pat Walker & Bill Stauffer: Leaders in Refugee Health

Patricia F. Walker, MD & William Stauffer, MD MSPH FASTMH

Patricia F. Walker, MD

Dr. Walker has been a clinician and medical educator focused on refugee and immigrant health care since 1979. She is internationally recognized for her work in defining the body of knowledge that encompasses refugee and immigrant health care. From 2002 to 2004, she chaired the State of Minnesota Immigrant Health Task Force, a group of 70 experts who developed best practices in care for refugees and immigrants in Minnesota that are being shared internationally. Dr. Walker has published multiple clinical articles, invited commentaries and book chapters on refugee and immigrant health and co-edited a 2007 medical textbook, Immigrant Medicine. She has received more than 16 grants totaling more than $1.5 million, focused primarily on defining best practices in culturally competent care and disseminating them in HealthPartners and nationally. She has served on HealthPartners Equitable Care Sponsor and Oversight Groups since their inception and helped lead the subgroup that defined HealthPartners demographic data collection, which is critical to reducing health disparities. She also led the design for the current Equitable Care Fellows Program at HealthPartners. She is currently president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Her work was profiled in the Lancet in February 2017. Dr. Walker speaks Thai and Cambodian. Her career focus has been “globally mobile populations,” defining and implementing best practices in care and developing medical education interventions, all to reduce health disparities. Her areas of expertise include refugee and immigrant health care, travel and tropical medicine, globally mobile populations, health disparities and culturally competent/humble health care.

Current research activities and funding: Dr. Walker works to translate best practices in refugee and immigrant health care to useful electronic medical record tools for clinicians. Projects include:

  • University of Minnesota CTSI grant: Culturally Competent Cancer Screening: Utilizing Granular Demographic Data and Point Of Care Provider Educational Interventions to Improve Identification Of and Care for Foreign-Born Hepatitis B Carriers (The “Global Health Wizard”)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Refugee Center of Excellence
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reduction of Malaria in US Residents Returning From Overseas Travel
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EpiAid investigation: B12 deficiency in Bhutanese Nepali refugees
  • Impact of global health residency training on medical knowledge of immigrant health
  • Practicing medicine in the global village: Use of guidelines and virtual networks
  • Vitamin D deficiency in refugees
  • Characteristics and spectrum of disease among ill returned travelers from pre- and post-earthquake Haiti: the GeoSentinel experience
  • Chikungunya: acute fever, rash and debilitating arthralgias in a returning traveler from Haiti
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with zika virus infection in a traveler returning from Guyana

William Stauffer, MD MSPH FASTMH

Dr. William Stauffer is formally trained in public health, internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine and infectious diseases.  He is currently on LOA from the University of Minnesota and is a Professor of Medicine and Executive Field Director of AMPATH-Kenya, and Stephanie and Craig Brater Professor at the Indiana University of Center for Global Health, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine.  Dr. Stauffer has been a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine, at the University of Minnesota where he is the Director of Human Migration and Health at the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility in the School of Public Health. A Guest Researcher with CDC, he served as the Lead Medical Advisor for the Immigrant, Refugee Migrant Health Branch in DGMH from 2005-2019, where he spearheaded refugee health guidance and worked on other issues involved in human mobility and health. He is also co-PI of the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants (NRC-RIM).   NRC-RIM was a lead public health response to COVID in the US in RIM populations and, more recently, for responding to the Afghan and Ukrainian refugee situation.  He founded the UMN Global Medicine Program and UMN/CDC Global Health Course. He has worked extensively overseas in clinical medicine education, research and in public health in more than a dozen countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle east.  He works extensively with IOM/United Nations Migration Agency/IOM and founded and works on the IOM-University of Minnesota Collaborative.  He has also acted/acts as an advisor to the European Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization. His research areas have included refugee and immigrant health issues, infectious disease surveillance, diagnostics, neglected tropical diseases, evaluations of public health programs, and examining drug costs and impact on patient.

Faith Akovi Cooper: International Rescue Committee

Faith Akovi Cooper, MPA

Faith Akovi Cooper is an influential refugee advocate and leader with a professional background in humanitarian assistance, global health, and international development sectors spanning Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.  She currently serves as Regional Director, US Southern Border Region in the IRC’s Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration (RAI) Unit. In this role she supports nine offices to ensure refugees acquire quality services to resettle.

Faith is a former refugee herself from Liberia.  She and her family escaped the brutal Liberian war and lived on two refugee camps before resettling in the U.S. She consistently advocates for women, children, and vulnerable populations, especially refugees.  She was recently appointed to the United States Refugee Advisory Board (USRAB) where she will contribute her lived expertise to create better and more equitable solutions for refugees and other forcibly displaced people.

Prior to joining RAI, Faith served as IRC’s country director in Liberia, where she oversaw all country operations, including the implementation of the USAID 36M Community Health Systems strengthening project. Other senior roles she has held include Africare’s Country Director, Ghana, and Liberia; Regional Advisor, West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative (WADPI) Ebola Preparedness Project for ECOWAS at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana. She also served as Program Manager for the U.S government funded humanitarian assistance portfolio covering Pandemic Response and disaster preparedness programs at the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine in Maryland, USA.

Faith holds a Master of Public Administration in Health Policy from George Mason University and dual B.A degrees in foreign languages and Criminal Justice from Radford University. She believes “to whom much is given, much is expected, thus her lifelong commitment to advocating for refugees.

Dr. Gaurab Basu: Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment

Gaurab Basu, MD, MPH

Climate Change: Perspectives on Migration, Health Equity and Human Rights

Gaurab Basu, MD, MPH is a primary care physician and Director of Education and Policy at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE). He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). His work focuses on the intersection of climate change, global health equity, human rights, medical education, and public policy.

Dr. Basu has developed and evaluated numerous innovative health equity curricular programs. He is the faculty director of the HMS Climate Change, Environment and Health curricular theme, co-founded the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy, co-directed the HMS social medicine curriculum, and co-directs the Climate Health Organizing Fellowship. He serves on the Harvard University Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability Standing Committee on Climate Education. Dr. Basu received the inaugural HMS Equity, Social Justice, and Advocacy Faculty Award and the HMS Charles McCabe Faculty Prize in Excellence. He has been a HMS Curtis Prout Academy Fellow and a Harvard Macy Scholar.

In 2021, Dr. Basu was named to the Grist 50 list of national climate leaders. In 2018, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation selected him to their Culture of Health Leadership fellowship. Dr. Basu advises the Massachusetts Governor’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) as a member of the Implementation Advisory Committee and the Climate Science Advisory Panel. He is a part of the city of Cambridge Mayor’s Climate Crisis Working Group and its Net-Zero Climate Task Force. His work has been featured by NPR’s All Things Consideredthe Boston GlobeScientific Americanthe BMJand Gristamong others.

Dr. Basu previously worked for numerous global NGOs including the Gates Institute, Partners in Health, the Child in Need Institute, and Last Mile Health. He is on the board of directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Weather Channel’s climate program “Pattrn,” and on the advisory council of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health and the Environmental League of Massachusetts. He served as one of the clinical leads of Cambridge Health Alliance’s COVID Community Management clinical services during the pandemic.

He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, with a bachelor of arts in international relations. He received his medical degree from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Dr. Basu was a Sommer Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he studied human rights and received his masters in public health. He completed his internal medicine residency training at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School.

Isra Chaker: Humanitarian advocate

Isra Chaker

Isra Chaker is a Syrian-American civil rights activist, humanitarian advocate, and public speaker. She currently serves as Senior Campaign manager at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), where she is a strategic leader, fostering innovation and creativity, and leading a cross-organizational team of volunteers and staff to deliver winning campaigns. She also serves as a key thought partner to the National Director of Campaigns and Crisis Response in developing and winning AIUSA’s Campaigns.

Previously, Isra served as a Campaign Strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and as the Senior Refugee, Migration and Protection Campaign Lead at Oxfam America. In these capacities, she led campaigns on issues including immigrant, refugee and asylum seeker rights, racial justice, and discriminatory policies such as the Muslim Bans.

One of her infamous projects that went viral in 2017 was bringing refugees to President Trump’s childhood home in Queens, New York to share their experiences and their “American Dream”.

She is an appointed Ambassador for One Young World (OYW), a global forum of young innovative leaders and has served as a speaker at their annual OYW Summit in London (2019), and Manchester (2022). She is a Public Advocate for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency USA (UNRWA) for her invaluable contributions in raising awareness and funds for their projects supporting Palestine refugees.

In addition, Isra was recognized as an Icon for the “We The Future” campaign by Amplifier, which recognizes ten young activists from across the United States in their leading work on current social justice issues affecting humanity. Isra was chosen to represent the refugee and immigration justice theme, known as “We the Future, will not be Banned”. She is the only Muslim in the campaign, and art work of Isra as well as a curriculum she designed to break down the stereotypes and misconceptions of Muslims, refugees and immigrants was taught to over 400,000 students in schools across the United States in the 2019 academic year.

Isra has been interviewed and featured on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, NowThis, AJ+, ABC News, Al Jazeera, CNN, the Associated Press, VICE News, the Washington Post, etc.

Isra has been invited to speak at the United Nations, major global conferences, and a multitude of local organizations and university campuses across the United States and world. Her story of choosing a life of purpose to shatter stereotypes of Muslim women because of islamophobia and discrimination she endured growing up Muslim in America, is the reason she is a powerful, eloquent and successful public speaker and engaging over 250,000 people on her social media platforms.

Drs. David Fitter & Drew Posey: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

David Fitter, MD & Drew Posey, MD MPH (CDC) 

Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch Update

Drew Posey, MD MPH (CDC)

A native of Marietta, Georgia, Dr. Drew Posey, is the Chief of the Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch at CDC.  This branch broadly deals with medical screening and overseas public health interventions for immigrants and refugees before they come to the United States as well as post-arrival activities.  Before becoming the Branch Chief, he was Team Lead of the Medical Assessment and Policy Team, a multidisciplinary team which manages the U.S. screening program for immigrants and refugees, both overseas by panel physicians and domestically by civil surgeons.  Dr. Posey is trained in Family Practice and also sees tuberculosis patients at the Fulton County Board of Health in Atlanta, Georgia.

Oballa Oballa: Outstanding Refugee Young Leader Award

Oballa Oballa

Oballa Oballa was born in Gambella, Ethiopia and grew up in a Kenyan Refugee Camp. He moved to America in December 2013, searching for a better education and a better life.

Oballa graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in social work from the College of St. Scholastica and an Associate degree in Human Service from Riverland Community College. As a student leader at Riverland Community College, Oballa led an effort to open the first food pantry to support students at Riverland College, work that became a model for other community colleges across the state.

He continued this effort when he was elected the president of LeadMN, a statewide student association representing the 180,000 community college students in Minnesota. In 2019, Oballa worked with a bi-partisan group of state legislators to pass the Hunger Free Campus Act, which provides a roadmap that colleges can follow to address this epidemic of food insecurity on campuses.

The act has been a success at motivating colleges to take serious steps to address these issues with 26 colleges being designated Hunger Free.

Oballa has been recognized as a positive change agent in the Austin community by bringing young and old people together.

He brought about change as the first refugee and person of color to ever sit on the Austin City Council in November 2020.

Governor Walz recognized Oballa’s leadership, and he appointed him to a two-year term on the Minnesota State Board of Trustees, which oversees all 38 state colleges and 7 universities.

In 2020 Oballa was awarded by the Minnesota Department of Human Service an Outstanding Refugee Young Leader Award.

In 2021 Oballa had the opportunity to meet with President Joe Biden.

Oballa currently works at Hormel Foods as a Sr. Team leader in the Dry Sausage department.

Outside of work, Oballa loves road trips, cooking and playing soccer.

Dr. Maggie Brewinski Isaacs: Office of Refugee Resettlement


Dr. Maggie Brewinski Isaacs

CAPT Maggie Brewinski Isaacs is the Director of the Division of Refugee Health at the HHS Administration for Children and Families in the Office of Refugee Resettlement. She previously deployed with ACF in August and September 2021 for the Department of State Afghanistan Task Force. 

Prior to joining ACF, CAPT Brewinski Isaacs was a Medical Officer and Special Advisor for Pediatrics in the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Division of AIDS where she was responsible for safety oversight of HIV and COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Her areas of expertise include refugee health, global newborn, maternal and child health, general pediatrics, HIV/AIDS, public health and prevention. 

Her previous experience includes serving as a Medical Officer in the NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Office of Global Health; NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health; HRSA Team Lead for the PEPFAR Medical Education Partnership Initiative; USAID Senior Technical Advisor for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission and Pediatric HIV; and as the Guyana Immunization Officer with the Pan American Health Organization/WHO. 

She recently finished a three-year term as the USPHS Physicians Professional Advisory Committee Co-Chair and has completed multiple deployments including to Louisiana during severe flooding, Arizona and Texas to provide medical care for unaccompanied children and Liberia and Sierra Leone for the Ebola response. 

CAPT Brewinski Isaacs completed medical school at Wake Forest University and a Pediatrics residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital followed by a second residency in Preventive Medicine and a Master of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is board certified in both Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine and sees patients in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Pediatrics Clinic. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD.  

At home, she and her husband stay busy chasing their four children and enjoy traveling and spending time outside as much as possible. They also serve as foster parents for unaccompanied refugee minors and unaccompanied children through the District of Columbia. 



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