UN Migration Agency Project

IOM Training

Training health providers abroad helps to ensure that US-bound refugees receive proper health screening, arrive safely and have a more successful community integration.

We partner with the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) to build the Agency’s capacity to perform health screening and health assessments for US-bound refugees. Around the world, IOM physicians, nurses, laboratorians and other healthcare professionals are relied upon to screen and assess US-bound refugees. This project ensures that these health care workers receive the training necessary to understand the unique needs of displaced patients. Better care improves health, reduces costs for welcoming countries, decreases risk of transmissible infections, and improves refugee integration into local communities.




UN Migration Agency Project Spotlight

Since 2012, the University of Minnesota has partnered with the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) to build the agency’s capacity to perform health screening and health assessments for U.S.-bound refugees.

The IOM is the leading international organization committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. The University’s partnership with the IOM, currently led by the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility (CGHSR), has focused primarily on training programs, exchanges and providing subject matter expertise.

Read Training Health Providers Abroad to Meet the Unique Needs of U.S.-bound Refugees

A woman examines the eyes of a patient on a table while two people look on


Our Approach

  • International Trainings: UMN experts deliver clinical training in Asia, Africa and the Middle East focused on physical examination, infectious disease diagnosis and treatment, and best practices for patient communication while working with interpreters.
  • Minnesota-based Trainings and Site Visits: UMN hosts IOM providers and staff to receive training on the US refugee resettlement process. Here they learn about public health and refugee services offered in Minnesota (considered a leader in refugee health) and network with US-based providers.
  • Online Training: UMN provides customized online educational materials for professional development and as “train the trainer” resources.



Physical Examination Quality Improvement Program

In collaboration with CDC and IOM, we launched a physical examination (PE) quality improvement program in late 2017. The goal of the program is to standardize and strengthen PE skills of IOM physicians through the development of guidelines and trainings. The program utilizes a train-the-trainer model whereby UMN faculty and partners train IOM master trainers on examination skills, training techniques, and approaches for giving feedback to colleagues.  These master trainers will then roll out the program at their home missions with ongoing support from UMN.

Our Progress

  • A series of physical examination guidelines — adult, pediatric, and infant — have been completed. Guidelines went through multiple iterations of feedback from IOM and CDC.
  • A quality control tool has been developed for use in monitoring and evaluation; the tool is designed to evaluate how closely an examination aligns with the guidelines.
  • Online learning materials have been developed and are accessible to IOM, including online lectures and a video demonstration of a standardized physical examination.
  • Phase 1 of the training was completed in 2018; during this phase, UMN led trainings in multiple locations and a pool of IOM “master trainers” were identified.
  • Phase 2 of the training was completed in 2019; during this phase, UMN jointly led trainings with IOM “master trainers” co-leading sessions. The phase 2 trainings also included sessions on giving and receiving feedback.

Next Steps

  • Additional and refresher training for IOM master trainers
  • Pediatric-specific training
  • A series of site visits to IOM clinics (based on feedback from IOM leadership) where UMN will work with IOM trainers to deliver content and to assess program progress
  • Ongoing quality improvement and mentorship of IOM master trainers

Project Highlights

Vials for blood
People practicing an ultrasound
People discussing around a table
Medical tools

Project Partners

This project is accomplished through partnerships with Minnesota-based experts and individuals, including UMN faculty, local health providers, the Minnesota Department of Health Refugee and International Health Program, and HealthPartners Center for International Health.

Minnesota-based partners and their international counterparts have a unique opportunity to build professional relationships. This connection between those that prepare refugees for resettlement, and those that receive refugees in their new home-countries leads to an expanded capacity to provide effective care at every step of the refugee resettlement process.



IOM Agency Logo

UN Migration Agency

The United Nations Migration Agency, known as the International Organization for Migration or IOM, provides care for US-bound refugees prior to their arrival in the United States.



Project News


More UN Migration Agency Partnership News >