Immigrant Women’s Health and Wellness Project
Between August 2011 through to March 2013, interviews were conducted with 55 individuals including:
- Recent immigrant women (30)
- North Vancouver Recreation managers and staff (10), and
- North Vancouver community partner organization staff (15)
Four meetings were held March – May 2013 with recent immigrant women interviewees to share and discuss the research findings, and collaboratively plan how the research findings should be disseminated. Research themes centred on:
- The connection between mental and physical health after migrating to Canada;
- That physical activity opportunities were often sought out as avenues to relieve stress and develop social connections, but these benefits were not automatic;
- For many, barriers to participation were compounded by broader life challenges related to migration;
- Suggested improvements included:
- Involving immigrants more (as participants, leaders, advisors & volunteers)
- Improving information and communication
- Reducing multiple barriers
- More intercultural opportunities (with other international people, as well as with local long-time residents)
- Improving partnerships across community service sectors
On June 4, 2013 seven recent immigrant women interviewees co-presented research findings with the research team during a 5-hour workshop to an audience comprised of public recreation and community organization staff and managers. Break-out groups, each with one community member, recreation staff, community organization staff, and researcher, brainstormed ideas for taking action on each of the suggested improvements identified by the recent immigrant women interviewees.
“I thought we knew what the barriers to participation were for recent immigrants, but after today – hearing from the women themselves – made me realize we have a lot more work to do in terms of inclusion,” said one recreation programmer, “Today’s presentation really lit a fire under us and we realize how important it is to make sure we work together with community members and not overlook these valuable resources anymore.”
Research findings and discussion notes from the workshop will be shared with all participants involved in the research project. As well, participants have agreed to share their contact information with the group to continue the dialogue within the community.
Findings from this SSHRC-funded research project will form the basis of an interculturalism and physical activity workbook which will be distributed in both hardcopy and electronic formats. Workbook components will be developed in consultation with study participants.