Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of



Megan S. Kelley

Date of this Version



Rashoka et al. International Journal for Equity in Health (2022) 21:48



© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on inequities in healthcare access faced by immigrant and refugee communities. To address ongoing disparities, there is an urgent need for ecological approaches to better understand the barriers that hinder and resources that facilitate access to healthcare. This study investigates barriers to healthcare system access faced by Yazidi refugees in the Midwestern United States.

Methods: Informed by the Interpretative Phenomenological Approach, three focus group meetings with a community advisory board were conducted between September 2019 and January 2020. The nine-member focus group included social workers, healthcare providers, and members of the Yazidi community. Meeting recordings were transcribed into English, coded for themes, and validated.

Results: We describe themes related to specific barriers to healthcare access; analyze the influence of relational dynamics in the focus group; explore experiential themes related to healthcare access in the Yazidi community, and finally interpret our findings through a social-ecological lens.

Conclusion: Community agencies, healthcare organizations, policymakers, and other stakeholders must work together to develop strategies to reduce systemic barriers to equitable care. Community representation in prioritysetting and decision-making is essential to ensure relevance, acceptability, and utilization of developed strategies.