Author: Chan, Madeline
The Newcomer Women’s Health Clinic (NWHC) was opened in 2014 to bridge a gap in services for newcomer women to Canada residing in Metro Vancouver. Since opening, the NWHC has been underutilized, operating at 50% capacity. A process evaluation was conducted to understand clinic utilization and what potential barriers exist for newcomer women accessing health services. Evaluation data was collected via patient intake forms (N=107), patient feedback surveys (N=31), and one to one interviews with newcomer women (N=7) and with service providers who work with newcomer women (N=8). Quantitative data from intake forms and surveys provided an overview of the sociodemographic characteristics of patients, while qualitative data from open-ended survey questions and interviews provided more nuanced insight into barriers that may contribute to the underutilization of the clinic. Overall, newcomer women and service providers consider the clinic a valuable service, but lack of knowledge and promotion of the NWHC arose as a common theme in surveys and interviews. Additional themes identified through interviews include language and location barriers, differing perspectives of health and health seeking behaviours, difficulty navigating health systems and services, and social isolation and social networks. With approximately 40,000 newcomer women immigrating to BC from out of country every year, the NWHC has the potential to meet a substantial need and provide health services to a population commonly experiencing individual, social, and structural barriers to health. Recommendations are provided to help improve the delivery of services and contribute to a rich and ongoing dialogue concerning the diversity of experiences of newcomer women in Canada.
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