• Ontario's Caregivers: Double the Work, Half the Benefits
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    By: Shan Qiao in Toronto, ON Cindy Leung drops off her husband, Chuck, to a day program at a Scarborough, Ontario long-term care facility. Waving to social worker, Benny Choi from her car she watches Chuck being pushed away in a wheelchair. Going through this daily routine, she reflects on where it all started. Eight years ago, Chuck had a massive heart attack and fainted at home. Rushed to the hospital, he was resuscitated after his heart completely stopped beating…
    Written on Thursday, 01 March 2018 01:41
  • Understanding the Roots of Abuse
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    By: Tazeen Inam in Toronto, ON One woman is murdered in Canada every six days, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. This statistic belies what's been happening in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) since the beginning of 2018: there has been a dramatic increase in female homicides, with five women killed in a span of six days. Three were from the Peel Region, one from Halton and another from the Hamilton Region; all at the hands of their male partners.…
    Written on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 01:46
  • Being Brown and Depressed
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    By: Aparna Sanyal in Montreal, QC We have yet to understand the impact of covert racism and misogyny on the mental health of Canadian citizens, particularly “ethnic” women. However eager they are to contribute to society, however skilled they may be, they face a unique combination of social isolation and career limitations that can trigger illness. My personal story perhaps speaks to many women from ethnic backgrounds in Ontario and all over Canada. After all, mental illness accounts for about…
    Written on Thursday, 01 February 2018 23:15
  • Ushering in the new Health Age
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    By: Shan Qiao in Toronto, ON At the age of 60, quitting a well-paying job to refinance her townhouse and start an entrepreneurial venture was the last thing Helen Poon’s friends thought she would do. But Helen did just that, setting out to build a healthy eating and living co-op so she could hire people who would be compensated by becoming healthy. According to a 2017 study, over three ­quarters of Canadians aren't meeting the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide…
    Written on Tuesday, 16 January 2018 23:49
  • Digital Health Portals Could Actually Widen Health Disparities
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    By: Viji Sundaram in Mountainview, California A much heralded push toward digital patient portals, commonly integrated with electronic health records, may be exacerbating health disparities between rich and poor, instead of reducing them, as they were intended to. In fact, for a variety of reasons, “you could argue they increase disparities,” said Suneel Ratan, chief strategy officer of Community Health Center Network and the Alameda Health Consortium, who has researched the use of patient portals in Bay Area community health…
    Written on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 02:58
  • Allergies among Newcomers in Canada Increase Over Time
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    By Belen Febres-Cordero in Vancouver Upon arrival, immigrant populations in Canada tend to present less allergies than their Canadian-born counterparts, but prevalence increases with time, a national study finds. However, exposing them to ethnic foods and cultural practices that they were accustomed to may help reduce allergies in this population, according to the researchers. “There is no definitive answer as to the cause(s) of the definitely noted increase in allergies in immigrant populations when they move to Western countries such…
    Written on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 15:01
  • Medical Student Re-discovers Jaffna
    by Gayathri Naganathan in Scarborough I was born at the Vavuniya General Hospital in the winter of 1988, in a town that is often referred to as the gateway to the northern Vanni region. As so many other families before us, we fled Sri Lanka during the civil war, amid death, destruction and uncertainty. We arrived in Scarborough, Canada, in the early 90’s, in what would become the single largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora community outside of South Asia. I…
    Written on Saturday, 20 August 2016 17:36
  • Canadian Pharma: Know Your Patient
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    Commentary by Rohit Phillips in Aurora, Ontario The fast-growing multicultural consumer segment of Canada represents a potential opportunity for pharmaceutical companies, especially if they can improve patient outcomes on a national scale. For a small or mid-tier drug company battling to make headway in the general market, capturing a large portion of the multicultural market may be the path to improved profitability and growth. Ethnic (or “Diversity”) Healthcare is all about the ‘culturally sensitive connection’ to effectively address ‘health and…
    Written on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 22:29
  • Health Minister Announces Funding Package To Help Fend Off Zika Internationally
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    by Kyle Duggan in Ottawa As the world struggles against the rapid spread of the Zika virus, the Canadian government is opening its wallet to shell out nearly $5 million for research and international aid. Health Minister Jane Philpott announced a funding package of $4.95 million before question period Wednesday afternoon, which she called a “significant and important international response” on Canada’s part. The virus has been linked by health officials to causing microcephaly, a rare but serious birth defect…
    Written on Thursday, 12 May 2016 15:24
  • Healthy Eating Not Just for White, Wealthy: Author
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    by Rosanna Haroutounian in Quebec City A trip to an organic dairy farm in Ontario was enough to inspire a former Wall Street banker to launch a global search for better ways to treat farm animals. “This was an organic farm, but the cows still weren’t treated well,” recalls author Sonia Faruqi. “They were indoors two-thirds of the year and outdoors only one-third of the year, and while they were indoors, they were chained to stalls, which is really unnatural…
    Written on Saturday, 07 May 2016 16:32
  • Canadian Dentists Expand Mission to Help Iraqi Orphans
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    by Shenaz Kermalli in Toronto Hossein is a 10-year-old Iraqi orphan with long hair, big olive-coloured eyes and a shy smile. He loves going to school and playing soccer. He also loves visiting his Canadian dentist for annual check-ups. Hossein’s dentist is one of 51 volunteers who fly into Iraq every spring to provide free dental care. Armed with colouring books, games and iPads – to entertain the children while they wait for their turn – the dentists come fully…
    Written on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:20
  • Breaking Silence Around Elder Abuse
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    by Beatrice Paez in Toronto Asking seniors subtle questions about their daily routines opens up dialogue – and can point to signs of elder abuse, which rarely reveals itself in obvious ways. Nirpal Bhangoo-Sekhon often asks seniors she meets about what they’ve been eating, who handles their finances and if their basic needs are being met. It is her job as case manager of the Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS) to be curious. “Unfortunately, if we don't ask those questions,…
    Written on Thursday, 17 March 2016 15:24
  • Cultural Barriers Add to Immigrants' Dementia Struggle
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    by Jacky Habib in Toronto Joyce Chan suspected something was wrong with her husband when he started losing his way to their local Tim Hortons five years ago. “Instead of walking south, he’d walk north and get lost. I would have to go out and look for him,” Chan, 77, recalls, about her 82-year-old husband, Peter. She says he lost his way one day when they decided to go out for lunch. “We didn’t know where he was, but he…
    Written on Tuesday, 01 March 2016 16:47
  • Women Fleeing Abuse Need Culturally Specific Services
    by Diba Hareer in Ottawa Lack of language skills, community support and cultural constraints prevent many immigrant and ethnic women from fleeing abusive relationships and seeking help. The most recent figures from Statistics Canada show that one quarter of all violent crimes are domestic in nature and in nearly seven out of 10 cases women and girls are the victims. Although there are no specific numbers for the demographic, shelters in urban centres say they are seeing a growing number…
    Written on Thursday, 25 February 2016 00:27
  • Spanking Leads to Resentment, Say Parents, Experts
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    by Florence Hwang in Regina, Saskatchewan Immigrants not only have to learn a new language when they arrive in Canada, but also adopt the values of Canadian society. This can often impact their parenting methods. “This is part of how we should be settling new immigrants into our community,” says social worker Gary Direnfeld, who has 33 years of experience and works out of Dundas, Ontario. “I’m of the view that there should be a structured approach to that. More…
    Written on Tuesday, 23 February 2016 20:36
  • Spanking Kids: Culture is No Defence
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    by Florence Hwang in Regina Cultural differences in childrearing require settlement organizations to provide newcomers with information and support in understanding Canadian laws on corporal punishment, also known as 'spanking', say experts. Nothing is more indicative of culture than the process of raising children to become adults, explains Justin Ryan, public education and communications co-ordinator with the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA). He describes a rite of passage for boys of a Brazilian tribe as an extreme…
    Written on Monday, 15 February 2016 00:58
  • Newcomers Can Benefit from Adding Salmon to Diet
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    by Carlos Tello in Vancouver A new food guide combines recipes from British Columbia’s immigrant communities with local seafood options to teach new Canadians how to incorporate B.C. fish into a healthy diet. “You have chefs from all over the world, and then you make them cook this local product,” says Siddharth Choudhary, the executive chef of Siddhartha’s Kitchen, a Vancouver restaurant that specializes in Indian food. “So people will be able to make dishes with ingredients they can find…
    Written on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 03:00
  • 'Onus on Parents to Immunize Kids'
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    by Belen Febres-Cordero in Vancouver New approaches to immunization may help newcomers get the information they need to ensure their children’s records are up-to-date, though barriers still exist across the country. In June 2015, Ottawa implemented the immunization strategy Every Child, Every Year. Marie-Claude Turcotte, manager of the vaccine-preventable disease program at Ottawa Public Health (OPH), explains that it is parents’ responsibility to provide updated immunization records to OPH. “We do not receive the information directly from the doctor’s office,”…
    Written on Thursday, 04 February 2016 14:54
  • Spanking: Lots of Studies; Little Change
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    by Florence Hwang in Regina Experts say revoking the law that allows parents to spank their children can help clarify for newcomers the "mixed messages" they receive about corporal punishment in Canada. Parents want to understand the law in Canada and how it fits in with their parenting style, notes Jean Tinling, the family program director at Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network. “Their worries are reduced when they realize that they have a choice about keeping the best from their…
    Written on Thursday, 21 January 2016 11:01
  • Immigrant Families Struggle to Deal with Disability
    by Tazeen Inam in Mississauga, Ontario According to the 2015 child poverty report for Toronto, newcomer children, children of colour and children with disabilities are among the largest groups living in poverty. Families that fall into more than one of these groups face even more grim circumstances. Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto suggests that immigrants with non-European backgrounds taking care of children born with disabilities face financial crises often. “English speaking [people], compared to the significant number…
    Written on Monday, 21 December 2015 03:33