Summer School 2017: Immigrant and Refugee Health

Facing a Changing World:

Transformative Leadership and Practice


Summer School 2017



The Public Health Association of BC’s 8th annual summer school is only a few days away. During the two day course we will show registrants, through four topic areas, how they can operationalize Transformative Leadership into practice and create innovative changes in the field of Public Health and beyond.

Over the next week we will be posting feature blogs of each topic session to give registrants and those who are on the fence an idea of what we will be talking about. We continue today with Immigrant and Refugee health.

Registrations for summer school are open now and seats are limited! Click here to register!


Immigrant and Refugee Health


Currently, in Canada, almost two-thirds of population expansion can be attributed to immigration (Statistics Canada, 2013). Our immigrant population has grown and continues to grow rapidly to the point that we now have the highest proportion of foreign-born citizens (nearly 21%) among the G8 countries (ibid.). The country of birth of Canadian immigrants, however, has changed significantly. Up until the 1950s, most immigrants to Canada were of European origin, since the late 1990’s this trend has shifted to visible minorities (Hyman, 2001). In particular, findings from the 2011 National Household Survey indicate that Asia (including the Middle East) is the region from which the largest proportion of individuals have immigrated. The share of immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America has also increased slightly. According to the most recent report from Statistics Canada (2013), nearly 70% of the visible minority population in Canada is now foreign-born.


The increasing diversity of Canada’s immigrant and refugee populations raises important concerns regarding the health-related needs of these populations, particularly in the context of the challenges posed by the social, economic, geographical, cultural and environmental factors that accompany the process of migration. The health of immigrants and their families has important implications for the future health profile of the nation. Of significant importance is the need for policy makers and other key stakeholders to address complex and intricate questions on immigrant and refugee health, such as: what are the determinants of immigrant health? What additional challenges are factors in the determinants of refugee health? What are the barriers to the uptake of health promotion practices among immigrants and refugees? How can we optimize the uptake of health promotion practices among these populations? What resources are available to support immigrant and refugee health and settlement?


Dr. Karen Kobayashi and Sara Hosseina will use the social determinants of health approach to respond to these questions at the 2017 Summer School. Dr. Kobayashi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Research Affiliate at the Institute for Aging and Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria. She is a social gerontologist who uses a life course perspective to explore the intersections of structural, cultural, and individual factors/experiences affecting health and aging in the Canadian population. Sara Hosseina is a Family Nurse Practitioner at the New Canadian Clinic (NCC), which provides primary care to refugees and new immigrants in Surrey and Burnaby. Sara not only provides primary care to this population, but she also has a strong focus on the barriers-to-transition that newcomers face in their first couple of years in Canada, particularly after fleeing war zone countries.


After painting a picture of the current status of, and challenges imposed upon Canada’s immigrant and refugee populations, our two presenters will host discussions on “promising practices” in health promotion. Through case studies they will also provide insights into how discourses and techniques such as social marketing, working with the mass and social media, and collaborative processes such as community capacity-building, may be effectively used in order to optimize the uptake of health promotion practices among immigrants and refugees, and, ideally, ensure better health for all.



Join us at the 2017 Summer School to learn more!