When you’re seeking health care in Ottawa, ethnicity matters—especially if you’re a senior from an ethnic minority group.

Studies have established that ethnic minority seniors lack access to services in their own language and face discrimination amid limited understanding of cultural differences, factors that create barriers to health-care services. However, little else is known about the challenges this under-studied demographic group faces.

“There is tremendous diversity and heterogeneity within the ethnic minority population,” says Dennis Kao, associate professor in the School of Social Work. “So this study focuses on the challenges facing seniors from ‘emerging’ communities—the relatively smaller and even more marginalized ethnic groups. Unfortunately, their needs are often neglected or masked by generalizations drawn from larger communities.”

With a $25,000 SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant, Kao is connecting with members of the Filipino, Vietnamese and French-speaking Black Canadian communities in Ottawa for the project Exploring the accessibility of health services for seniors from emerging ethnic minority communities.

He’ll be partnering with the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, and working with community groups Ottawa Valley Filipino Canadian Senior Citizens Association, Regroupement Affaires Femmes, and Vietnamese Canadian Community of Ottawa.

Interviews with service providers and community leaders, as well as focus groups with community members, will help identify the factors contributing to health care disparities and determine how seniors are currently navigating the health-care landscape. Geographic information systems mapping will assess the spatial accessibility of formal and informal health care services.

Monday, August 10, 2020 in
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