Primary Care Screening Methods and Outcomes for Asylum Seekers in New York City

Nathan S. Bertelsen, Elizabeth Selden, Polina Krass, Eva S. Keatley, Allen Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Effective screening in primary care among asylum-seekers in the US is critical as this population grows. This study aimed to evaluate disease prevalence and screening methods in this high-risk group. Two hundred ten new clients from 51 countries, plus Tibet, who were accepted into a program for asylum seekers from 2012 to 2014 were included. Screening rates and outcomes for infectious, non-communicable, and mental illnesses were evaluated. Screening rates were highest for PTSD, depression, hepatitis B, and latent tuberculosis. Seventy-one percent of clients screened positive for depression and 55 % for PTSD, followed by latent tuberculosis (41 %), hypertension (10 %), hepatitis B (9.4 %), and HIV (0.8 %). Overall screening rates were high. Point of care testing was more effective than testing that required a repeat visit. A large psychiatric and infectious disease burden was identified. These findings can inform future primary care screening efforts for asylum seekers in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Asylum seeker
  • Health screening
  • Hypertension screening
  • Immigrant health
  • Infectious disease screening
  • Mental health screening
  • Primary health care

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