The Health Paradox of Immigrants in Canada

While immigrants arrive in Canada often healthier than their Canadian-born counterparts, data shows that over time and generations, immigrant health tends to decline faster than the average Canadian. Health outcomes in immigrant populations are often affected by various factors, including but not exclusive to language proficiency, ethnicity, immigrant classification, and education. To better understand this phenomenon, our guests Dr. Naomi Lightman, Dr. Edward Ng, and Abtin Parnia provide their insights.

Naomi Lightman is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary. Her areas of research expertise include migration, care work, gender, aging and quantitative research methodology. To date, her academic work has been published in numerous journals including the European Sociological Review, Journal of European Social Policy, International Migration Review and the Journal of Aging and Social Policy. In addition, she is the co-author of the second edition of the textbook Social Policy in Canada . In addition, she has collaborated on research focused on immigration and aging with various social agencies and government bodies including Social Planning Toronto, the Wellesley Institute, and the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership.

Edward Ng PhD is a senior analyst with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada. His research interests at Statistics Canada are on immigrant health and the use of record linkage to develop new policy-relevant data. He had conducted analyses using national population health surveys in Canada cross-sectionally, and longitudinally to understand factors underlying the healthy immigrant effect. In the past 10 years, he pioneered the use of large-scale national Census and immigrant landing files link to hospital discharge data or mortality to understand the heterogeneity within the immigrant population. He recently completed a project that focused on tuberculosis among recent immigrants, as well as produced an updated article on data development in immigrant health research at Statistics Canada.

Abtin Parnia is a Research and Policy Analyst at the University of Toronto. They’re also a graduate of the Master of Public Health Prog ram at the Dalla Lanna School of Public Health, specializing in Epidemiology and was a recipient of the Gordon Cressy Award. They’ve worked at the Hospital for Sick Children, conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses on social assistance programs and is well-versed in quantitative analyses and modeling. Furthermore, Parnia reviewed Colorectal Cancer in indigenous populations, looked at community-based integrated knowledge translation, and researched environmental causes of cancer in indigenous communities. Their current research areas include immigration, racialization, and socioeconomic disparities in health.

Special thanks to Junior Producers Fatemah Ebrahim, Diana Lu, and Executive Director Vienna Vendittelli for producing this episode.


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