In 2013-14, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training contracted the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, through a partnership with BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, to gather evidence on the health needs and health care experiences of newcomer immigrant women in British Columbia and to develop an initiative to meet the health needs of newcomer immigrant women.
To document the health needs and health care experiences of newcomer immigrant women, we reviewed the academic and grey literature, conducted an environmental scan of current health services available to newcomer immigrant women in B.C., held consultations with health care providers and settlement agency staff, and held consultations with newcomer immigrant women in English, Mandarin, Farsi and Punjabi.
Taken together, the findings of these activities suggest that to maintain and promote the health of newcomer immigrant women in the context of their settlement process in B.C., women require social support networks among family, friends and community as well as access to appropriate formal health supports and care. Services need to be known, accessible, gender-sensitive, culturally responsive and safe.
Further research and continued program and policy enhancements in both the health and settlement sectors could improve the availability of services for immigrant women, increase newcomer immigrant women’s knowledge of the health care system in BC, and contribute to maintaining and enhancing the health and settlement experiences of newcomer immigrant women throughout the province.