Engendering Migrant Health

Engendering Migrant Health: Canadian Perspectives

EDITED BY DENISE L. SPITZER
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tv40v
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  • Book Info
    Engendering Migrant Health
    Book Description:

    Engendering Migrant Healthbrings together researchers from across Canada to address the intersections of gender, immigration, and health in the lives of new Canadians.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9603-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)
    DENISE L. SPITZER

    Is migrating to Canada bad for your health? Perhaps the surprising answer for some is …‘Yes.’ While popular wisdom may presume that immigrants from poorer nations come to enjoy a better health care system, more advanced control of infectious diseases, a high standard of sanitation, safer working environments, better quality housing and water in Canada, all of which should contribute to better health standards than in their countries of origin, newcomers who reside in this country for longer than a decade often report a decline in health status. Although this trend is repeated in a variety of immigrant-receiving countries, disaggregating...

  5. Part 1: Situating Migration, Gender, and Health in Canada

    • 2 Work, Worries, and Weariness: Towards an Embodied and Engendered Migrant Health
      (pp. 23-39)
      DENISE L. SPITZER

      What makes foreign-born women in Canada sick? This deceptively simple question underpins each of the selections in this book. In an effort to explore the impact of immigration on women’s lived experiences and uncover the factors that contribute to both the maintenance and erosion of health and well-being, I suggest we focus attention on the body as both subject and object. In this chapter, I argue that this focal point can lead us towards an embodied and engendered perspective of immigrant health that can stimulate both theoretical insights and more efficacious interventions that are informed by and that attend to...

    • 3 Examining the Health of Immigrant and Refugee Francophone Women Living outside Québec
      (pp. 40-61)
      MICHÈLE KÉRISIT

      Although increasingly present in Canada’s provinces outside Québec, immigrants who use French as a first or second language have not been the focus of much research, especially regarding health, and all the more so from a gendered perspective. The primary objective of this chapter is an attempt to fill this gap by giving an overview of the situation of francophone immigrant visible-minority women living outside Québec. I examine the specific barriers they face when they need to access the health care system in general with a focus on issues of mental health. Due both to my research working with immigrant...

    • 4 Enhancing Social Inclusion: Settlement Services in Relation to Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Newcomers
      (pp. 62-77)
      BRIAN O’NEILL and KAMALA SPROULE

      Does Canada truly welcome lesbian, gay, and bisexual immigrants? This chapter focuses on the provision of immigrant settlement services and the social well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) newcomers. Building on the holistic definition of health set forth by the World Health Organization (2006), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC 2007a) identifies 12 factors that shape health, including education, employment, income level, and housing (see chapter 2, this volume, for further discussion). Particularly relevant to the well-being of LGB people are supportive social networks, inclusive social environments, and issues related to gender and culture, all of which are...

    • 5 The Fatherhood Experiences of Sudanese and Russian Newcomer Men: Challenges to Their Health and Well-being
      (pp. 78-96)
      DAVID C. ESTE and ADMASU TACHBLE

      The2010 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigrationhighlighted the key immigration activities that took place in 2009. The number of permanent residents admitted into Canada in 2009 was 252,179. These figures are consistent with the government’s intention to have a balanced immigration plan to ensure that the labour needs of the country will be met. Meanwhile, family reunification will continue to be fostered, and the humanitarian principles of refugee protection will be honoured (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2010).

      There were 247,243 newcomers admitted into Canada as permanent residents in 2008. Of these, 63.9 per cent (149,072) were Economic Immigrants...

  6. Part 2: The Sequelae of Suffering

    • 6 The Mental Health and Well-being of Immigrant and Refugee Women in Canada
      (pp. 99-117)
      ILENE HYMAN

      Immigration is an increasingly important component of population growth in Canada, and ensuring the mental health and well-being of immigrants represents an important national priority.

      The first part of this chapter presents an overview of existing literature on the health of immigrants in Canada, raising important questions about determinants of mental health among immigrant women and what contributes to an increased vulnerability over time in a new country. The second part adopts a comprehensive framework to identify and examine the determinants of immigrant women’s mental health. The chapter concludes with a summary of the main determinants of mental health, highlighting...

    • 7 Gender-Based Interpersonal Violence and the Challenges of Integrating in Canadian Communities
      (pp. 118-128)
      WILFREDA THURSTON

      Many women who immigrate to Canada have faced or will face gender-based violence. In this chapter, the experience of interpersonal violence (IPV) is foregrounded and placed in the context of institutionalized abuse and systemic racism. The policy community in Canada that advocated for and operated services for women who experienced IPV originated from the women’s movement. One of the challenges faced by immigrant women has been finding culturally competent services, but another challenge is the lack of gender analysis within the larger organizations that provide settlement and integration services. Women repeatedly demonstrate, however, that given the basic necessities of life...

    • 8 Liminality and Mental Well-being among Non-Status Immigrant Women
      (pp. 129-146)
      LAURA SIMICH

      Many personal and social determinants of health contribute to experiences of stress among immigrants (Beiser 2005), but one factor that has been understudied is immigration status as a legal and social marker. Status designations such as ‘immigrant’ and ‘refugee’ that once clearly implied voluntary and forced migration, respectively, have become less distinct as patterns of migration become harder to define and control. Psychosocial implications of immigration status for health are even less clear, but some research suggests that immigration status is associated with health disparities in immigrant-receiving countries (Gagnon 2002; Gagnon et al. 2007; Sundquist 1995; Silove et al. 1998)...

    • 9 Social Suffering and Witnessing: Exploring the Interface between Health Policy and Testimonial Narratives of Canadian Afghan Women
      (pp. 147-166)
      PARIN DOSSA

      It is well recognized that trauma and suffering have become a systemic part of our global reality that bears significant impact on the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and peoples. Yet scholarship has only begun to address theinterrelatedquestions on the events surrounding trauma and how they are articulated from the bottom up, which includes body language,¹ for a layered approach to effect structural change (Douglass and Vogler 2003). Social scientists have identified different vantage points. Behar (1996) suggests that we adopt the position of a vulnerable observer so that we can feel the pain of the ‘far-out...

  7. Part 3: Communities, Social Capital, Empowerment, and Resilience

    • 10 Advocacy and Social Support: The Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op’s Journey towards Equity of Access to Health
      (pp. 169-192)
      LUCENIA ORTIZ and THE MULTICULTURAL HEALTH BROKERS CO-OP

      Yvette² and her five children arrived in Edmonton from Rwanda in 2004 after residing in a refugee camp in the Congo. Once their initial settlement needs such as housing, temporary income support, and school for the children were met, it became apparent that Yvette was facing a far more complex situation herself. A single mother with five children under 12 years old, Yvette could not speak English and was suffering from severe mental stress and trauma. Before she came to Canada, her husband was murdered and one of her children was abducted during the civil war. Yvette was referred to...

    • 11 Empowering Women through Community Work: Strategies within the Latin American Community in Ottawa
      (pp. 193-212)
      SARA TORRES, ALMA ESTABLE, ANA MERCEDES GUERRA and NUBIA CERMEÑO

      Have Latin American women, and their communities, become empowered through organizing to remove barriers to health and social services? The authors of this chapter have worked for many years assisting Latin American women in Ottawa to achieve equal access to health, which we define in a broad context, one that includes social determinants such as income and social status, social support networks, education and literacy, employment/working conditions, social environments, the physical environment, personal health practices and coping skills, healthy child development, biology and genetic endowment, health services, gender, and culture (Marmot and Wilkinson 1999; Public Health Agency of Canada 2007d;...

    • 12 The Global Ottawa AIDS Link (GOAL): The Story of an ‘Un-Project’
      (pp. 213-230)
      CAROL AMARATUNGA, LAURA M. BISAILLON, ALLISON FARBER, LUCIE KALINDA, SUJATHA LIYANAGE, FÉLICITÉ MURANGIRA and MELISSA ROWE

      In Lewis Carroll’s 1865 fantasy novel,Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the protagonist navigates an imaginary world where language is often nonsensical; for instance, the characters refer to the famous tea party as an ‘unbirthday’ party. Similarly, the Global Ottawa AIDS Link (GOAL) was an ‘unproject’ for its first three years of life, insofar as it lacked conventional research funding while still finding ways to organize numerous HIV-education activities and slowly build a dedicated constituency of volunteers, community leaders, academics, and students.

      In this chapter we describe the evolution of this community-based research initiative, the purpose of which was to address...

    • 13 At the Intersection of Migration, Gender, and Health: Accounting for Social Capital
      (pp. 231-242)
      BILKIS VISSANDJÉE, STEPHANIE ANN CLAIRE ALEXANDER, ALISHA NICOLE APALE and MADINE VANDERPLAAT

      In the introduction to his bookSocial Capital(2003), Field summarizes his central thesis by stating quite simply that ‘relationships matter’ (1). A similarly pithy and oft-cited phrase distilling the core idea behind the concept of social capital additionally suggests that ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ that matters for health and well-being (Field 2003:2; Putnam 2007; Vissandjée, Wieringa, and Apale 2009). Considering such descriptions, notions conveyed by the termsocial capitalare not novel. In fact, the importance of relationships and the obvious value of ‘whom one knows’ reflect common knowledge and make intuitive sense to...

  8. Part 4: Conclusion

    • 14 Engendering Migrant Health: Final Reflections
      (pp. 245-250)
      DENISE L. SPITZER

      The authors in this text have examined a diverse range of foreign-born residents in Canada, from Latina immigrants in Ottawa, Afghan refugee women in Vancouver, and South American women living a liminal existence in Toronto as non-status immigrants, to Sudanese fathers in Calgary and gay and lesbian immigrants in Vancouver. By complicating the topic of immigrant and refugee health, they have helped to illuminate the multiple and dynamic forces that may negatively influence both perceptions of health status and incidences of certain acute and chronic conditions that can be read as loss of the healthy immigrant effect.

      Downward mobility and...

  9. References
    (pp. 251-304)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 305-314)
  11. Index
    (pp. 315-320)