To register, please fill out the form on this page.

At the New Iowans summit, you will learn more about immigrants and refugees, their contributions to central Iowa, and their ongoing needs in our community.

The morning is a combined event sponsored by OpportUNITY, United Way of Central Iowa’s plan for fighting poverty, and the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI) to increase awareness and strategize about supporting our new neighbors. The afternoon is a RACI event addressing health issues faced by refugees in our community.

Participants may come for the morning, afternoon, or the entire day. Box lunches are available. 

There is no charge for the event, but you must register to attend.

After you register, you will receive an email confirming your reservation, as well as a reminder a few days before the event. In the meantime if you have any questions, please contact Dr. Helene Fein, Community Impact Services Director, at 

Friday, October 19
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Morning: Refugees and Immigrants 101
9:00 a.m. - noon

Afternoon: Refugee Health
1:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Franklin Junior High School
4801 Franklin Ave., Des Moines

Register Here

If you would like to host a display table for your organization at the event at no charge, please contact Natalie Lynch at


8:30 - 9:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Networking
9:00 - 9:15 a.m. Welcome and Introduction, Elisabeth Buck, President, United Way of Central Iowa
Session 1:
9:15 - 9:45 a.m.
Keynote: Mazahir Salih (See below for bio)
Session 2:
9:45 - 10:30 a.m.
Refugee Panel - Living in the U.S.: Opportunities and Challenges
10:30 - 10:45 a.m. BREAK
Session 3:
10:45 - 11:30 a.m.
Immigrant Panel - Living in the U.S.: Opportunities and Challenges
11:30 a.m. - noon  Next Steps: Where do we go from here?
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Keynote: Dr. Michele Devlin (See below for bio)
1:00 - 1:15 p.m. Welcome and Introduction, Chad Dahm, State Refugee Coordinator

Session 4:
1:15 - 2:30 p.m.

Mental Health Case Studies: Addressing Mental Health of Refugees of All Ages (Alyssa Clayden, LISW)
Session 5:
2:30 - 3:45 p.m.
Panel - Refugee Health Concerns: Issues and Solutions
3:45 - 4:30 p.m. Next Steps: Where do we go from here?

Keynote Speakers:

2018 Salih Headshot-web

Mazahir Salih is the first Sudanese-American elected official in the U.S. She serves as an Iowa City council member after earning 77% of the vote for her at-large seat. Salih is a founding member of the Center for Worker Justice for Eastern Iowa and a local activist. She helped establish Johnson County's community ID program and worked to commit 150 Iowa City businesses to continue paying a $10.10 minimum wage.


Dr. Michele Devlin is Professor of Global Public Health and Chair of the Division of Health Promotion and Education at the University of Northern Iowa. She also founded the Iowa Center on Health Disparities, a model organization established by the National Institutes of Health to improve health equity for underserved populations, and is Director of the UNI Global Health Corps humanitarian relief organization. Her primary areas of specialty include human migration, maternal and child health, and disaster response with refugee and minority populations.

Sponsored by: