Dearborn Health Department receives $100,000 grant focusing on Arab American communities

The data will be used to create interventions and programs for Dearborn residents.

green sign with gold lettering that reads, "Welcome to Dearborn"

The Dearborn Health Department has announced a $100,000 grant from the DMC Foundation to conduct its first community health needs assessment, with a focus on capturing health data of the Arab American community.

Director Ali Abazeed says he believes this is the first time Dearborn is conducting a survey like this.

“Dearborn is home to a unique demographic, which includes the largest concentration of Arab Americans in North America, and we’re really excited to also set the foundation for what capturing culturally appropriate and relevant data looks like,” he says. “We’re really thrilled to be announcing and launching this intervention.”

Dearborn has an estimated population of 110,000 people. Abazeed says Dearborn is taking the lead in gathering health data to set a new standard.

“It’s really important for the Arab American capital of North America, Dearborn, to play a leading role in making sure that we are assisting and propelling the federal government forward in its efforts to capture accurate data that allows communities like Dearborn and others across the country to tap into trillions of dollars of federal funding.”

Abazeed says it’s part of a larger push to recognize Middle Eastern North African communities.

Last month, the Biden administration recommended adding the MENA designation to the Census. As of now, those who identify as Arab American are considered either “white” or “other” on the Census survey. It largely leaves the Arab American community out of funding for things like translated healthcare materials.

Abazeed says he hopes collecting this data will make the city more competitive in seeking federal funds.

He says the department will create focus groups and roll out a survey which will be translated in Arabic to capture a health profile of the city.

The data will be used to create interventions and programs for Dearborn residents. Abazeed says it will also eventually be used to publish reports and academic journals.

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.