UBC professor examines wellbeing of newcomers who settle in smaller centres
Studies have shown the health of immigrants to Canada who live in large cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver declines after only a few years, but can the same be said about immigrants who settle in smaller centres?
And if so, why?
Shirley Chau hopes to answer those questions over the next 36 months when she looks into the wellbeing of immigrants.
An Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, Chau has received a $238,000 grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research to conduct the study involving communities in three provinces.
Chau says smaller communities are becoming more diverse with immigrants arriving from places like China, Columbia, Peru, India and many other locations. Chau suspects the stress of moving to a new country, building a new life, new career, and trying to find their way in a new culture may play a role and will examine if this is also the case for immigrants settling outside of large cities.
The three-year study will be conducted in Kelowna, Red Deer, Alberta, and Brandon, Manitoba.
A sample of 72 eligible participants, from 24 to 44 years old, will be drawn from the three communities.
Chau wants to learn more about their settlement experience by equipping participants with cameras and having them take pictures that represent their perceptions and experiences of health and wellbeing from their own perspective. She will then conduct interviews about the meaning these collected images hold for participants.
Working with Chau will be UBC Professor of Nursing Joan Bottorff, Associate Professor of Geography Carlos Teixeira , as well as Judy Hughes, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, and Daniel Lai, professor and associate Dean (Research & Partnerships) of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work. Local community service agencies serving immigrants at each research site will also assist.
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