Raising awareness of pelvic floor disorders among refugee and immigrant women

Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion grant program

Members of the ELiHP “Raising Awareness of Pelvic Floor Disorders” project team – from left to right: Victoria Elliot, Sarah Kent, Lydia Yip (Organizational Lead, MCHB), and Dr. Annick Poirier (with baby Maya)

Improving health for immigrant women by developing community health care partnerships

It took an Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion project to bridge a gap that had stubbornly persisted in health care service delivery to refugee and immigrant women, despite the well-intentioned and collaborative partnership of the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative and the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s Urogynecology Clinic.  

For almost three years prior to the start of the Raising Awareness of Pelvic Floor Disorders Among Refugee and Immigrant Women Through Cultural Health Brokers ELiHP project in 2018, the MCHB and the Urogynecology Clinic had been working in partnership to improve MHBCs’ clients’ access to pelvic floor care. 

Maheer Khan, one of three project leads for the Raising awareness of pelvic floor disorders among refugee and immigrant women ELiHP project

Knowledge translation = knowledge transfer

One of the biggest obstacles to success that this train-the-trainer and knowledge translation project addressed was the Cultural Health Broker’s lack of specific knowledge of pelvic floor disorders, and the lack of training in techniques for engaging with patients who may be suffering from PFDs, yet don’t recognize the symptoms or realize that treatments are available. 

Already serving as a vital and invaluable link to maternal and infant health and well-being services (pre-, peri- and post-natal) for members of immigrant and refugee communities in Edmonton, the 41 community health workers who received the ELiHP project training in the subject of PFDs (awareness, screening and management) reported a pre/post-workshop increase of 20% in their understanding of PFDs. 

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