Health and Well-being of Immigrants in Canada

This theme focuses on the physical and mental health of immigrants, and their well-being in Canada. The health indicators and outcomes for immigrants decline as they transition into the North American lifestyle.  In addition, maintenance of mental health can be extremely challenging, especially for refugees and immigrants who have experienced trauma or endured lengthy separation from loved ones.  This theme will address the challenges that newcomers face in achieving and maintaining positive physical and mental health in Canada and in accessing health services that support their health and well-being. It will also address the challenges that institutions face in delivering accessible and equitable health and well-being services to immigrants and refugees.  Lastly, the theme will encompass the difficult transitions facing immigrant health professionals seeking work in regulated fields.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • The physical and mental health challenges currently faced by newcomers in Canada
  • The need for awareness building among newcomers in relation to managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and mental illness
  • Issues related to newcomer understanding and navigation of the complex web of organizations that characterize the Canadian health system, ranging from hospitals and primary care delivery through nutritional counselling and physical therapy/activity
  • Language barriers affecting the delivery of health care in different institutional settings
  • Effectiveness of cross-cultural competency training and other similar interventions in helping to modify institutional attitudes and accessibility
  • The potential alignments and synergies between health organizations and immigrant-serving organizations that would help address the health challenges faced by immigrants and health institutions
  • Practices that improve immigrant health outcomes and could be replicated in different settings
  • Practices that effectively address the barriers that immigrants face in obtaining mental health services
  • Strategies for assisting internationally trained health professionals to adapt and utilize their skills in Canada, either in their original occupations or in related fields