Removing barriers to prenatal care for immigrant women

Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion grant program

From left to right: Elauna Boutwell (Program Coordinator, Welcome Centre for Immigrants), Dr. Sue Chandra (ELiHP project mentor), Dr. Rachel Wang (EliHP funding recipient)

Two key elements of health promotion are empathy and awareness, recognizing a health care need or gap in society and strategizing ways to meet or fill it.

With her Emerging Leaders in Health Care Promotion project to improve prenatal care in Edmonton’s immigrant women population, Dr. Rachel Wang recognized the many barriers encountered by immigrant women and their families when expecting a child and/or planning a family.

“Language barriers, cultural practice differences, limited social support and a lack of knowledge of appropriate prenatal care – coupled with the fact that the immigrant woman population is often at a higher risk for poor health compared to Canadian women – means this population often doesn’t benefit from the type of prenatal health care that established Canadian women populations have routine access to,” Dr. Wang explains.

“Routine prenatal care is not a universal concept,” observes Dr. Wang. “Most immigrant families face barriers to accessing our health care system. While one objective of this health promotion project was to increase accessibility to information on prenatal care, we specifically wanted to emphasize the importance of prenatal care to achieving positive outcomes for both maternal and fetal health, including educating women on prenatal screening options available during pregnancy.”

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.