The Somali Health Board

The Somali Health Board's mission is to reduce health disparities of the Somali immigrants and refugees and to and improve health outcomes within the communities by:
• Advocating for and ensuring culturally appropriate and relevant policies and services
• Developing and implementing meaningful partnerships with health systems
• Developing mutual education for providers and community leaders

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Address:7050 32nd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118-3502
Phone Number:206-721-1119
The Somali Health Board (SHB) would like to recognize:
1. SHB's Executive Board members for their commitment and tireless work in addressing health disparities
2. The Gates Foundation for its employees match giving program
Somali immigrants and refugees face disproportionate health problems due to cultural, religious and language barriers. To better understand the community's perceptions of mental health and access to mental health services in King County, WA, we conducted a Community Based Participatory Research study.

Our research finding showed a gap between the perceptions and treatments between the Somali community and Western biomedical services. The community turns to religious services for mental health treatment. They expressed western services lack the cultural competency to effectively address the communities' health needs. In addition, stigma surrounding the topic of mental health creates a social barrier to accessing mental health services.

With the funds raised by Give Big, we will leverage the results from the research to produce and distribute a specialized mental health curriculum that will educate King County-based mental health care professionals and community leaders on approaches to effectively meet the needs of Somali immigrants on their terms, and build rapport and trust between service providers and community members. This curriculum is a trifecta of reducing the stigma of seeking treatment for mental health challenges and substance use disorders; strengthening collaborative partnerships between local Imams and King County mental health providers; and combining Western and traditional treatments.