CT Doctor Helps Connect More Than 100 Ukrainian Refugees With Sponsors

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It became the place months ago where Ukrainian refugees flocked to as a step in their journey to find refuge in the United States.

“On the day that I arrived in Tijuana, the border between Mexico and the United States shut for Ukrainians, and the new program 'United for Ukraine' began,” Anastasia Vishnevetsky said.

The Connecticut native is also a neuro-immunology fellow at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and was compelled to help provide medical need to refugees at an urgent care clinic in Mexico.

But her two-week mission there would soon turn from medical provider to sponsor connector.

“It was actually really hard to get people who would fill out a sponsorship form for someone who they didn't know,” Vishnevetsky said.

Vishnevetsky learned dozens of the refugees had loved ones they could stay with in the U.S., but those immigrants were leery to fill out the Uniting for Ukraine sponsor form, so she rallied her network colleagues to complete them instead.

Anastasia Vishnevetsky

“Since then, we've had, I don't really know the precise number, but over 100 refugees, who, through our personal network of friends and family, have come to the United States,” Vishnevetsky said.

Vishnevetsky said the effort hits close to home. Her parents came to the U.S. as Russian refugees in 1989 with the help of an American sponsor family.

She now hopes more people know they can sponsor a refugee simply by helping them assimilate into American culture and navigate the job search, with little to no cost.

“There are different ways that different people can help and I think we can all kind of figure out what our role is within that,” Vishnevetsky said.  

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