On our ShifaME team, we are lucky to have a wonderful group of clinicians and cultural brokers working in partnership to support refugee and immigrant families. A question we often get is, “what does a cultural broker do?” We love this question because it gives us the opportunity to talk about the amazing work of our cultural brokers.
Across all aspects of the ShifaME program – counseling, case management, school groups, and community outreach—our cultural brokers play an instrumental role. As mental health professionals from the refugee/immigrant community, cultural brokers combine intimate community-level knowledge and experience with an understanding of services and institutions to facilitate access to services and improve care. In addition to providing language access, they help providers understand the worldview of the client they are working with and clients and families understand the services they are receiving.
Cultural broker Jean-Marie Selengbe noted that his collaboration with ShifaME clinicians and other providers to navigate cross-cultural communication plays an important part in the successful integration for refugee/immigrant families into their communities.
Clinician Taylor Janis put it simply, “We can’t do our work without cultural brokers.” He went on to add that, when working with refugee/immigrant families, cultural brokers are essential for establishing trust, especially in instances where families may have had past negative experiences with authorities or other people in positions of power.
Contact us for more information about ShifaME and cultural brokering. We look forward to hearing from you!