Studies have shown the health of immigrants to Canada who live in large cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver declines after only a few years, but can the same be said about immigrants who settle in smaller centres?
And if so, why?
Shirley Chau hopes to answer those questions from a study she will carry out over the next 36 months.
An assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the UBC Okanagan, Chau has received a $238,000 grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research to conduct the study involving communities in three provinces.
Chau suspects the stress of moving to a new country, building a new life, new career, and trying to find their way in a new culture may play a role. She will examine if this is also the case for immigrants settling outside of large cities.
The three-year study will be conducted in Kelowna, Red Deer, Alta., and Brandon, Man.
Chau wants to learn more about their settlement experience by equipping participants with cameras and having them take pictures that represent their perceptions and experiences of health and wellbeing from their own perspective.