Our Research

Beautiful fall day on the South Campus.

At IRRI, we seek to use research as a tool to improve the welfare of immigrants and refugees. 

Our projects focus on studying health, mental health, behavioral health, poverty and immigration policy. We strive to make our research available and accessible to the community at large.

Explore our work:

Ongoing Research

Economic Integration among Immigrants and Refugees in Western New York

Principal Investigator: Yunju Nam

This mixed-method study aims at identifying barriers and facilitators of economic success among immigrants and refugees in Western New York.

Immigrants’ Economic Integration in Western New York: Evidence from the American Community Survey 

Prior Research

Reversals of Precarity: Rewriting Buffalo’s Refugees as Neoliberal Subjects

Principal Investigator: Arabella Lyon

This project looks at the media's representation of Buffalo's refugees as entrepreneurial saviors of the decaying city. Such representations reveals the underlying failure of neo-liberalism.


Reversals of Precarity: Rewriting Buffalo's Refugees as Neoliberal Subjects. In Precarious Rhetorics, Wendy S. Hesford, Adela C. Licona, & Christa Teston (Eds.)

Karen Health Literacy Study

Principal Investigator: Isok KimWooksoo Kim

This study takes a community-engaged approach to developing and testing a locally relevant health literacy tool for the Karen refugees living in Buffalo.


The Karen health literacy study: Final report.

Social determinants of depression among Karen ethnic refugees from Burma.

Simple contents and good readability: Improving health literacy for LEP population.

Immigration and Neighborhood Change on Buffalo’s West Side

Principal Investigators: Robert M. Adelman, Aysegul Balta Ozgen, Watoii Rabii

We examine neighborhood change on Buffalo’s West Side. Although the potentially positive relationship between immigration and neighborhood revitalization has been discussed in the media, it has not received scholarly attention. We analyze census tract data, interview data from community leaders and organizational representatives, and content analysis data of newspaper articles.


Buffalo's West Side Story: Migration, Gentrification, and Neighborhood Change

Burmese Community Behavior Health Survey

Principal Investigator: Isok Kim

The BCBHS study is a collaborative community-based research project conducted in partnership with the Burmese Community Support Center and Burmese Community Services Inc. The study seeks to narrow the knowledge gap in understanding the behavioral health conditions among the Burmese refugee community in Buffalo, New York.


Burmese Community Behavioral Health Survey Final Report: Overview of the Study Findings

Behavioral Health Symptoms Among Refugees From Burma: Examination of Sociodemographic and Migration-Related Factors

Barriers to Health Care Use among Refugees from Burma in Buffalo

Principal Investigator: Wooksoo Kim

Access to quality, affordable health care services is a human rights issue, especially for refugees. The purpose of this study is to identify the extent to which refugees from Burma experience barriers in utilizing physical and mental health services in Buffalo. 


Challenges in healthcare service use among Burmese refugees: A grounded theory approach.

“Mental health is for crazy people”: Perceptions and barriers to mental health service use among refugees from Burma.

An Evaluation of Financial Capacity Building Programs for NAPCA's Senior Community Service Employment Program Participants

The Quality of Life in Asian Immigrant Elders: Focusing on Gambling Behaviors

Principal Investigator: Wooksoo Kim

The purpose of this study is to explore gambling issues (i.e., the experiences, cultural meanings and definitions of problem gambling) among Asian immigrant elders from their own accounts.


"It's Not Officially Gambling": Gambling Perceptions and Behaviors Among Older Chinese Immigrants

Healthy mahjong, little mahjong: Social gambling among older Chinese immigrants in the U.S.