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Influence of Indoor Work Environments on Health, Safety, and Human Rights Among Migrant Sex Workers at the Guatemala-Mexico Border: A Call for Occupational Health and Safety Interventions.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-02-02
Abstract: 

Background: Migrant women are over-represented in the sex industry, and migrant sex workers experience disproportionate health inequities, including those related to health access, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and violence. Despite calls for occupational sex work interventions situated in labour rights frameworks, there remains a paucity of evidence pertaining to migrant sex workers’ needs and realities, particularly within Mexico and Central America. This study investigated migrant sex workers’ narratives regarding the ways in which structural features of work environments shape vulnerability and agency related to HIV/STI prevention and violence at the Guatemala-Mexico border. Methods: Drawing on theoretical perspectives on risk environments and structural determinants of HIV in sex work, we analyzed in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic fieldwork conducted with 39 migrant sex workers in indoor work environments between 2012 and 2015 in Tecún Umán, Guatemala. Results: Participant narratives revealed the following intersecting themes to be most closely linked to safety and agency to engage in HIV/STI prevention: physical features of indoor work environments (e.g., physical layout of venue, proximity to peers and third parties); social norms and practices for alcohol use within the workplace; the existence and nature of management practices and policies on health and safety practices; and economic influences relating to control over earnings and clients. Across work environments, health and safety were greatly shaped by human rights concerns stemming from workplace interactions with police, immigration authorities, and health authorities. Conclusions: Physical isolation, establishment norms promoting alcohol use, restricted economic agency, and human rights violations related to sex work policies and immigration enforcement were found to exacerbate risks. However, some establishment policies and practices promoted ‘enabling environments’ for health and safety, supporting HIV/STI prevention, economic agency, and protection from violence and exploitation; these practices and policies were especially crucial for recent migrants. Policy reforms and structural workplace interventions tailored to migrant sex workers’ needs are recommended to promote improved working conditions and migrant sex workers’ health, safety, and human rights.

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Cohort Profile: The Comparative Outcomes and Service Utilization Trends (COAST) Study Among People Living With and Without HIV in British Columbia, Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-01-13
Abstract: 

Purpose The Comparative Outcomes And Service Utilization Trends (COAST) Study in British Columbia (BC), Canada, was designed to evaluate the determinants of health outcomes and health care services use among people living with HIV (PLHIV) as they age in the period following the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The study also assesses how age-associated comorbidities and health care use among PLHIV may differ from those observed in the general population.

Participants COAST was established through a data linkage between two provincial data sources: The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Drug Treatment Program, which centrally manages cART dispensation across BC and contains prospectively collected data on demographic, immunological, virological, cART use and other clinical information for all known PLHIV in BC; and Population Data BC, a provincial data repository that holds individual event-level, longitudinal data for all 4.6 million BC residents. COAST participants include 13 907 HIV-positive adults (≥19 years of age) and a 10% random sample inclusive of 516 340 adults from the general population followed from 1996 to 2013.

Findings to date For all participants, linked individual-level data include information on demographics, health service use (eg, inpatient care, outpatient care and prescription medication dispensations), mortality, and HIV diagnostic and clinical data. Publications from COAST have demonstrated the significant mortality reductions and dramatic changes in the causes of death among PLHIV from 1996 to 2012, differences in the amount of time spent in a healthy state by HIV status, and high levels of injury and mood disorder diagnosis among PLHIV compared with the general population.

Future plans To capture the dynamic nature of population health parameters, regular data updates and a refresh of the data linkage are planned to occur every 2 years, providing the basis for planned analysis to examine age-associated comorbidities and patterns of health service use over time.

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Article
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“All Weather Friends”: How China Transformed Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Sector

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-01-22
Abstract: 

Recent research documents the globalization strategy of the Chinese tobacco industry since the early 2000s and risks posed to global health. There are limited analyses to date of how this strategy is playing out in specific countries. This paper analyses the expansion of the China National Tobacco Company (CNTC) in Zimbabwe, the largest producer of tobacco leaf globally, since the early 2000s, through document analysis. It applies a political economy framework—identifying material, ideational and institutional forces—to demonstrate how CNTC capitalized on the unique features of China-Africa development cooperation to pursue its expansion goals, which threaten global public health efforts to reduce tobacco supply. In a context of economic crisis, CNTC offered substantial resources to revive Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry, promoting a shift to contract farming of its preferred leaf. It benefited from perceptions of state friendship, which it fostered through corporate social responsibility initiatives. Through ties with the Chinese embassy and economic actors, CNTC embedded its interests in development institutions. While contributing to improved foreign exchange earnings and some farmers’ livelihoods, CNTC’s expansion has increased the dependence on China as a development partner and tobacco as a crop, benefitting its “go global” strategy, while contributing to public health and environmental challenges locally and globally. The expansion of the Chinese tobacco industry interests in Zimbabwe offers lessons for global tobacco control and efforts to support alternatives to tobacco growing.

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Article
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“A Two Glass of Wine Shift”: Dominant Discourses and the Social Organization of Nurses’ Substance Use

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-11-19
Abstract: 

We undertook an institutional ethnography utilizing the expert knowledge of nurses who have experienced substance-use problems to discover: (a) What are the discourses embedded in the talk among nurses in their everyday work worlds that socially organize their substance-use practices and (b) how do those discourses manage these activities? Data collection included interviews, researcher reflexivity, and texts that were critically analyzed with a focus on institutional features. Analysis revealed dominant moralistic and individuated discourses in nurses’ workplace talk that socially organized their substance-use practices, subordinated and silenced experiences of work stress, and erased employers’ roles in managing working conditions. Conclusions included that nurses used substances in ways that enabled them to remain silent and keep working. Nurses’ education did not prepare them regarding nurses’ substance-use problems or managing emotional labor. Nurses viewed alcohol as an acceptable and encouraged coping strategy for nurses to manage emotional distress.

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Article
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An Exploratory Study on Police Oversight in British Columbia: The Dynamics of Accountability for Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Municipal Police

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-01-09
Abstract: 

Independent oversight of Canadian police has increased over the past decade in response to a number of high-profile cases of police misconduct and public dissatisfaction with internal police investigations. To date, however, the dynamics of the oversight process have not been subjected to critical analysis. This study examines the benefits and challenges of the oversight systems for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and municipal police in British Columbia, Canada, as well as the role of oversight in increasing police accountability, improving public confidence, and modifying police behavior. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with persons (n = 13) from oversight agencies, police unions, special interest groups, and professional standards units, the study found that despite having one of the most progressive oversight models in Canada, the system faces major challenges. These include slow processing of complaints, the administrative burden of minor complaints, the difficulty in determining return on investment, and the two-tier complaint model.

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Article
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Projected Local Rain Events Due To Climate Change and the Impacts on Waterborne Diseases in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-12-30
Abstract: 

Background

Climate change is increasing the number and intensity of extreme weather events in many parts of the world. Precipitation extremes have been linked to both outbreaks and sporadic cases of waterborne illness. We have previously shown a link between heavy rain and turbidity to population-level risk of sporadic cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in a major Canadian urban population. The risk increased with 30 or more dry days in the 60 days preceding the week of extreme rain. The goal of this study was to investigate the change in cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis risk due to climate change, primarily change in extreme precipitation.

Methods

Cases of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis were extracted from a reportable disease system (1997–2009). We used distributed lag non-linear Poisson regression models and projections of the exposure-outcome relationship to estimate future illness (2020–2099). The climate projections are derived from twelve statistically downscaled regional climate models. Relative Concentration Pathway 8.5 was used to project precipitation derived from daily gridded weather observation data (~ 6 × 10 km resolution) covering the central of three adjacent watersheds serving metropolitan Vancouver for the 2020s, 2040s, 2060s and 2080s.

Results

Precipitation is predicted to steadily increase in these watersheds during the wet season (Oct. -Mar.) and decrease in other parts of the year up through the 2080s. More weeks with extreme rain (>90th percentile) are expected. These weeks are predicted to increase the annual rates of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis by approximately 16% by the 2080s corresponding to an increase of 55–136 additional cases per year depending upon the climate model used. The predicted increase in the number of waterborne illness cases are during the wet months. The range in future projections compared to historical monthly case counts typically differed by 10–20% across climate models but the direction of change was consistent for all models.

Discussion

If new water filtration measures had not been implemented in our study area in 2010–2015, the risk of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis would have been expected to increase with climate change, particularly precipitation changes. In addition to the predicted increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events, the frequency and length of wet and dry spells could also affect the risk of waterborne diseases as we observed in the historical period. These findings add to the growing evidence regarding the need to prepare water systems to manage and become resilient to climate change-related health risks.

Background

Climate change is increasing the number and intensity of extreme weather events in many parts of the world. Precipitation extremes have been linked to both outbreaks and sporadic cases of waterborne illness. We have previously shown a link between heavy rain and turbidity to population-level risk of sporadic cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in a major Canadian urban population. The risk increased with 30 or more dry days in the 60 days preceding the week of extreme rain. The goal of this study was to investigate the change in cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis risk due to climate change, primarily change in extreme precipitation.

Methods

Cases of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis were extracted from a reportable disease system (1997–2009). We used distributed lag non-linear Poisson regression models and projections of the exposure-outcome relationship to estimate future illness (2020–2099). The climate projections are derived from twelve statistically downscaled regional climate models. Relative Concentration Pathway 8.5 was used to project precipitation derived from daily gridded weather observation data (~ 6 × 10 km resolution) covering the central of three adjacent watersheds serving metropolitan Vancouver for the 2020s, 2040s, 2060s and 2080s.

Results

Precipitation is predicted to steadily increase in these watersheds during the wet season (Oct. -Mar.) and decrease in other parts of the year up through the 2080s. More weeks with extreme rain (>90th percentile) are expected. These weeks are predicted to increase the annual rates of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis by approximately 16% by the 2080s corresponding to an increase of 55–136 additional cases per year depending upon the climate model used. The predicted increase in the number of waterborne illness cases are during the wet months. The range in future projections compared to historical monthly case counts typically differed by 10–20% across climate models but the direction of change was consistent for all models.

Discussion

If new water filtration measures had not been implemented in our study area in 2010–2015, the risk of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis would have been expected to increase with climate change, particularly precipitation changes. In addition to the predicted increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events, the frequency and length of wet and dry spells could also affect the risk of waterborne diseases as we observed in the historical period. These findings add to the growing evidence regarding the need to prepare water systems to manage and become resilient to climate change-related health risks.

 

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Article
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Evaluating the Impact Of Implementing Public Bicycle Share Programs On Cycling: The International Bikeshare Impacts On Cycling and Collisions Study (IBICCS)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-20
Abstract: 

Background

Despite rapid expansion of public bicycle share programs (PBSP), there are limited evaluations of the population-level impacts of these programs on cycling, leaving uncertainty as to whether these programs lead to net health gains at a population level or attract those that already cycle and are sufficiently physically active. Our objective was to determine whether the implementation of PBSPs increased population-level cycling in cities across the US and Canada.

Methods

We conducted repeat cross-sectional surveys with 23,901 residents in cities with newly implemented PBSPs (Chicago, New York), existing PBSPs (Boston, Montreal, Toronto) and no PBSPs (Detroit, Philadelphia, Vancouver) at three time points (Fall 2012, 2013, 2014). We used a triple difference in differences analysis to assess whether there were increases in cycling over time amongst those living in closer proximity (< 500 m) to bicycle share docking stations in cities with newly implemented and existing PBSPs, relative to those in cities with no PBSPs.

Results

Living in closer proximity to bicycle share predicted increases in cycling over time for those living in cities with newly implemented PBSPs at 2-year follow-up. No change was seen over time for those living in closer proximity to bicycle share in cities with existing PBSPs relative to those in cities with no PBSP.

Conclusion

These findings indicate that PBSPs are associated with increases in population-level cycling for those who live near to a docking station in the second year of program implementation.

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Article
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Moving Into an Urban Drug Scene among People Who Use Drugs in Vancouver, Canada: Latent Class Growth Analysis

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-14
Abstract: 

Background

Urban drug scenes are characterized by high prevalence of illicit drug dealing and use, violence and poverty, much of which is driven by the criminalization of people who use illicit drugs (PWUD) and the associated stigma. Despite significant public health needs, little is understood about patterns of moving into urban drug scenes among PWUD. Therefore, we sought to identify trajectories of residential mobility (hereafter ‘mobility’) among PWUD into the Downtown Eastside (DTES), an urban neighbourhood with an open drug scene in Vancouver, Canada, as well as characterize distinct trajectory groups among PWUD.

 

Methods

Data were derived from three prospective cohort studies of community-recruited PWUD in Vancouver between 2005 and 2016. We used latent class growth analysis (LCGA) to identify distinct patterns of moving into the DTES among participants residing outside of DTES at baseline. Multivariable multinomial logistic regression was used to determine baseline factors associated with each trajectory group.

 

Results

In total, 906 eligible participants (30.9% females) provided 9,317 observations. The LCGA assigned four trajectories: consistently living outside of DTES (52.8%); early move into DTES (11.9%); gradual move into DTES (19.5%); and move in then out (15.8%). Younger PWUD, those of Indigenous ancestry, those who were homeless or living in a single-room occupancy hotel (SRO), and those injecting drugs daily were more likely to move in then out of DTES (all p<0.05). Living in an SRO, daily injection drug use, and recent incarceration were also positively associated with early mobility (all p<0.05).

 

Conclusions

Nearly half of the participants moved into the DTES. Younger PWUD and Indigenous peoples appeared to have particularly high mobility, as did those with markers of social-structural vulnerability and high intensity drug use. These findings indicate a need to tailor existing social and health services within the DTES and expand affordable housing options outside the DTES.

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Article
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Six decades of preventing and treating childhood anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis to inform policy and practice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019
Abstract: 

Question Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent childhood mental disorders. They also start early and persist, causing high individual and collective costs. To inform policy and practice, we therefore asked: What is the best available research evidence on preventing and treating these disorders?

Methods We sought randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating interventions addressing anxiety problems in young people. We identified RCTs by searching CINAHL, ERIC, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Thirty-three RCTs met inclusion criteria—evaluating 8 prevention programmes, 12 psychosocial treatments and 7 pharmacological treatments. We then conducted meta-analyses by intervention type.

Findings For prevention, the cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) programme Coping and Promoting Strength stood out for reducing anxiety diagnoses. For psychosocial treatment, 9 CBT interventions also reduced diagnoses: Cool Kids; Cool Little Kids Plus Social Skills; Coping Cat; Coping Koala; One-Session Treatment; Parent Education Program; Skills for Academic and Social Success; Strongest Families and Timid to Tiger. Successful CBT interventions were used with children ranging from pre-schoolers to teens in homes, communities/schools and clinics. For pharmacological treatment, selective-serotonergic-reuptake-inhibitors (SSRIs) significantly improved symptoms. Fluoxetine stood out for also reducing post-test diagnoses, but caused adverse events. Meta-analyses indicated strongest effects for CBT (Log OR=0.95; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.21) and SSRI treatments (1.57; 1.09 to 2.06).

Conclusions CBT is effective for preventing and treating childhood anxiety—across a range of ages and formats. Fluoxetine is also an effective treatment but side effects must be managed. CBT prevention and treatment interventions should be made widely available, adding fluoxetine in severe cases.

Fifty years of preventing and treating childhood behaviour disorders: A systematic review to inform policy and practice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018
Abstract: 

Question Oppositional defiant and conduct disorders (ODD and CD) start early and persist, incurring high individual and collective costs. To inform policy and practice, we therefore asked: What is the best available research evidence on preventing and treating these disorders?

Study selection and analysis We sought randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating interventions addressing the prevention or treatment of behaviour problems in individuals aged 18 years or younger. Our criteria were tailored to identify higher-quality RCTs that were also relevant to policy and practice. We searched the CINAHL, ERIC, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science databases, updating our initial searches in May 2017. Thirty- seven RCTs met inclusion criteria—evaluating 15 prevention programmes, 8 psychosocial treatments and 5 medications. We then conducted narrative synthesis.

Findings For prevention, 3 notable programmes reduced behavioural diagnoses: Classroom-Centered Intervention; Good Behavior Game; and Fast Track. Five other programmes reduced serious behaviour symptoms such as criminal activity. Prevention benefits were long term, up to 35 years. For psychosocial treatment, Incredible Years reduced behavioural diagnoses. Three other interventions reduced criminal activity. Psychosocial treatment benefits lasted from 1 to 8 years. While 4 medications reduced post-test symptoms, all caused important adverse events.

Conclusions Considerable RCT evidence favours prevention.

Clinical implications Effective prevention programmes should therefore be made widely available. Effective psychosocial treatments should also be provided for all children with ODD/CD. But medications should be a last resort given associated adverse events and given only short-term evidence of benefits. Policymakers and practitioners can help children and populations by acting on these findings.