1.2 Field Experiences

Working with Refugees

Solina Yoo, University of Ottawa; Francoise Guigne, Memorial University

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Solina Yoo: When I interview refugee clients, I hear stories of other families they were killed in an explosion, going through all sorts of torture. Stories like that empowers me to be active and involved in refugees and in advocating for their needs because I sort of understand how difficult it must be to resettle at a new country, in a new environment.

Francoise Claire Guigne: The concept of what is health literacy, what is cultural humility versus what is cultural appropriateness and those different things. I think our students could really benefit if we took time to talk about those specific concepts before we went and volunteered.

Duration: 48 seconds

Cross Cultural Communication

Kamini Premkumar and Mina Niazi, University of Saskatchewan

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Kamine Premkumar: Just to hear these stories from around the world and just these experiences really inspiring of the resilience of these people and how strong they are. Also, it’s been really frustrating to try to make a bond with them in these 30 minutes interviews and using an interpreter. I’ve been kind of finding more about myself and how I’m not a patient as I thought I was and it’s just been a really good experience that way.

Mina Niazi: One of the examples is in one of the scenarios I was trying to use body language in order to make the patient understand what I was trying to say, and then they interpreted it completely different so then I realised I need to be careful in certain areas. As well as asking questions specifically so that’s it’s easier for the interpreter to actually get the message across to the patient, and for you to get the exact answer that you want. I think it’s an ongoing learning and I think I have taken the first step.

Duration: 58 seconds

Converting Health Currency

Carl Nicholson, Executive Director of the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, Ottawa

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People arrive with a health currency and it needs to be converted into Canadian currency. They come with a certain understanding of health and how to maintain their health, what a health system looks like. We need to have some organized systematic way of helping them understand what those things are in the Canadian context, and that if we don’t do that, what happens is that they neglect their health. They actually only begin to recognize that they need health assistance when it’s over the top, when it’s a big problem. When they’re really sick, that’s when they finally show up but there’s a lot of preventative things that we can do. It’s as simple as understanding what those things mean in the supermarket, when you look at the labels. It’s as simple as understanding that if you’re from the tropics and you live in a temperate zone, you need to take vitamins D or look out for your intake of vitamin D. It’s as simple as you know, when an immigrant who speaks very little English shows up in a health practitioner’s office there’s a challenge. How am I actually going to actually understand what this person’s health needs are? Their statuses and what their health needs are. One of the things that’s important is to help that practitioner by providing them with some kind of previously done screening that says these are the issues. This is this person’s health status. This is their understanding of how to maintain their health.

Duration: 1 minute 43 seconds

Importance of Medical Students

Lucila Cabrera, Health Settlement Director, Catholic Centre for Immigrants

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Medical needs, but we have clients with let’s say HIV or pregnancy that they didn’t want to mention to the councillors because with the female, male they were not comfortable with. As soon as they met with the medical students, they felt that they could express everything, they could share all the medical needs and issues and so we were able to find proper medical services as soon as we knew.

Duration: 29 seconds