Community Based

The YADD Privacy Project: Improving Privacy for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities through Research and Innovative Knowledge Translation

Research Team: Nazilla Khanlou, PI (York University); Anne Mantini (York University); Katie Degendorfer; Ron Laroche (Community Living, Ontario).

Research Coordinator: Luz Maria Vazquez

The project looks at the issue of privacy rights and protection for young adults with developmental disabilities. We know that young adults with developmental disabilities (YADD) have complex developmental needs, and health and mental health specific needs, and often depend on secondary decision makers to protect their privacy rights. As a result, there is a need for innovative tools to help to protect the privacy of YADD and their families, and help community care providers who collect personal information to maintain privacy as per the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPEDA) Act.

Funded by: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Asian and Latino Canadian youth experiences of cultural identity: An intersectional exploration of contemporary immigrant and multicultural narratives

Research Team: Nazilla Khanlou, PI (York University); Anne Mantini (York University); Luz Maria Vazquez (York University); Attia Khan (York University).

Research Coordinator: Luz Maria Vazquez

Cultural identity is an important aspect of development and well-being for youth in multicultural societies.  Contemporary exploration of youth identities is needed in light of recent changes in the sociopolitical landscape of Western immigrant receiving host countries. This pilot study will develop the relevant data gathering focus group and interview guide items to conduct a SSHRC supported study analyzing how these changes influence youth’s perceptions of their cultural identity; it will problematize the implications on Asian and Latino Canadian youth’s experiences of exclusion from their host society, inequitable access to opportunities and racism.

Funded by:  SSHRC Research Opportunity Grant (York University)

Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities (YADD study)

Research Team: Nazilla Khanlou, PI (York University); Gail Jones (Kerry's Place Autism Services) and, Dr. Karen Yoshida (University of Toronto).

Research Coordinator: Luz Maria Vazquez

This study focuses on the potential barriers and positive solutions for accessing social funding for young adults with developmental disabilities and their family caregivers (Canadian-born and immigrant). Research objectives include: to understand young adults with developmental disabilities and their family caregivers’ awareness and perceptions of direct/flexible/self-directed social funding versus indirect or agency-based funding; and to explore the advantages and disadvantages in accessing direct or agency-based funding in terms of gender and migration status.

This is a community-based study that includes over a hundred interviews with:

- Young adults with developmental disabilities between the ages 19 and 29 years; YADD_young_ Flyer 2015
- Caregivers (mothers, fathers and other family caregivers or guardians - immigrants and Canadian-born);  YADD_Caregivers Flyer 2015
- Service providers YADD_ServiceProvider_2016

Funded by: Ministry of Community and Social Services (Developmental Services Research Grant).

Health promotion for immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities: What is relevant?
Research Team: Nazilla Khanlou (PI), Gail Jones (co-I, Kerry's Place Autism Services), Louise Kinross (co-I, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitiation Hospital), and Karen Yoshida (co-I, University of Toronto).

Research Coordinator: Luz Maria Vazquez

The goal of this project is to examine what is relevant health promotion for immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities (DDs). The research question “What do immigrant mothers of children with DDs identify as relevant health promotion practices?” will be examined through a community-based study. Its objectives are to determine: 1) Types of health promotion strategies immigrant mothers of children with DDs participate in; 2) Types of unmet health promotion needs; 3) Mothers’ perceptions on the helpfulness of available health promotion supports; and 4) Challenges and enabling factors mothers experience in accessing health promotion supports and services.

Funded by: The $15K Challenge Funding, Women’s College Hospital

Lending a hand to our future: Documenting, assessing and treating posttraumatic stress disorder in refugee children and youth
Research Team: Beiser M & Srinivasan V (PIs), Goodwill A M, & Khanlou N (Co- Investigator), McCay EA, McShane K, Monson C, Sgro MD, & Siddiqi A.

The project involves a partnership of researchers, decision makers, practitioners, immigrant service agencies and other community groups in Ontario that aims at producing and using evidence-based research to improve health care services to children and youth new to Canada. Among the project’s goals are the introduction of “mental health screening into school, youth shelter-based and community primary health care settings” and; b) to implement “an innovative treatment, (Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), for traumatized youth and the child version, (KIDNET) for traumatized children”, and to evaluate their effectiveness, among others.

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Partnerships for Health System Improvement (PHSI).

The role of gender and ethnicity in the well-being and integration of Iranian and Afghan older adult immigrant women in Canada
Research Team: Mahdieh Dastjerdi (PI), Nazilla Khanlou (co-I), and Judith MacDonnell (co-I)

Community Collaborators: Afkham Mardukhi (Iranian Women's Organization of Ontario) and Adeena Niazi (Afghan Women’s Organization)

This narrative study will explore and understand the roles of gender and ethnicity in the well-being of Iranian and Afghan older adult immigrant women, and the impact of these factors on the women’s integration into mainstream society. Considering Canadian settlement patterns of Iranian and Afghan older adult immigrants and the feasibility of accessing this population, we will conduct this study in the greater Toronto area (GTA). We will recruit 30 participants through Iranian and Afghan community-based organizations in the GTA.

Funded by: Women’s College Hospital

Perceived stress and social support of Chinese immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities
Research Team: Chang Su (PI), Nazilla Khanlou (co-PI)

This project examines the effects of perceived stress and social support among Chinese-Canadian immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities. It describes the stressors which impact their lives and the buffers that help mothers to access the needed services.

Funded by : The Lillian Wright postdoc scholarship

Health, Well-being and Parenting Experiences of Young Mothers Who Participate in the Women Moving Forward Program
Research Team: Beryl Pilkington (co-PI), Nazilla Khanlou (co-PI), Christine Kurtz-Landy (Co-I)
Community Collaborators: Wanda MacNevin and Heather Miller, Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre

This descriptive study will explore the experiences of young mothers who participate in the 'Women Moving Forward' (WMF) program. WMF is a program for young single mothers between the ages of 20-29 who reside in the Jane-Finch community. Started in 2005, the program is operated by the Jane-Finch Community and Family Centre. The study will focus in particular on how the program affects the participants' health and well-being, sense of agency, parenting, and the wellbeing of their children.

Funded by: York University Leave Fellowship Fund (Pilkington's sabbatical)

Social Support Of Immigrant Mothers of Children with Disabilities
Research Team: Nazilla Khanlou (PI), Deborah Davidson (Co-I), Mahdieh Dasterjerdi (Co-I), Michaela Hynie (Co-I), Jane Philpott (Co-I), Marcia Rioux (Co-I), Charmaine Williams (Co-I)

Research Personnel: Sheila Jennings and Alexis Buettgen

Community Collaborators: Rabia Khedr, Nimo Bokore, Disability Rights Promotion International Canada, Tahira Gonsalves, & Meenu Sikand
Knowledge Translation: Dr. Mavis Jones, Knowledge Translation Specialist,

Our recruitment poster can be viewed here.

Our literature review demonstrates that while mothering a child with disability entails great rewards, it also incurs significant stressors. There is insufficient research or policy focus applied to immigrant mothers in particular.This research applies an intersectional perspective and intersectoral approach towards gaining a better understanding of social support for immigrant mothers of children with disabilities.
Our goal is to gain in-depth information regarding facilitators and barriers to social support through interviews with both mothers and stakeholders from diverse sectors (such as health, education, social services). Our hope is that findings and our subsequent policy and programming recommendations will contribute to positive changes in the social support of mothers with children with disabilities.
Funded by: Faculty of Health, York University

The Newcomer Youth Mental Health Project
Research Team: Nazilla Khanlou (PI), Yogendra Shakya (co-PI) & Carles Muntaner (co-Investigator)

The Newcomer Youth Mental Health Project focuses on newcomer youth (those who arrived in Canada within the last 5 years, and are between the ages of 14-18) from Afghan, Colombian, Sudanese, and Tamil communities. It looked at how youth understand and conceptualize mental health, and what their diverse mental health needs, help-seeking behaviours, and promotion strategies are, with a view to making program and policy recommendations that reduce barriers and improve access for mental health services for newcomer youth.

Funded by: The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario).

Exploring the Link between Neighbourhood and Newcomer Immigrant Health
Research Team: Nasim Haque (PI), Nazilla Khanlou (co-PI), Brenda Roche (co-Investigator) & Stephanie Montesanti (Research Associate)

This qualitative research examined both the “place-based” characteristics of SJT and individual-level factors, including newcomer immigrants’ perceptions of the neighbourhood, their social relations, and their access to health and social services in the neighbourhood. This study was based on focus groups and individual interviews with three ethno-racial immigrant populations: Tamil, Filipino, and Chinese (Mandarin speaking). It compares their experiences with those of Canadian-born residents in the neighbourhood. The study also interviewed health and social service providers in SJT and the surrounding area. The results indicate that SJT newcomer immigrant residents experience a range of challenges relating to physical, mental, and social health and well-being. Health outcomes and well-being are the result of a complex web of causation where risks are related to individual behaviour, neighbourhood, access to social and health services, and social support. Responses and experiences were similar across the ethnic groups and non-immigrant residents in SJT.

Funded by: Wellesley Institute

Exploring How Immigrant Women Conceptualize Activism: Implications for Mental Health Promotion
Research Team: Judith MacDonnell (PI), Notisha Massaquoi, Nimo Bokere, Wangari Tharao, Mahdieh Dastjerdi & Nazilla Khanlou (co-Investigator).

Community Partner: Women's Health in Women's Hands.

Immigrant women as a group often experience a disproportionate share of mental health concerns and mental illness, yet there is limited understanding of strategies to foster their mental health. This participatory policy study explores the relationship between immigrant women's activism and mental health promotion. This grounded theory study explores how immigrant women themselves express their agency and describe their political activism and the meanings it has for them in relation to the settlement process. The findings will inform relevant policy and program support which can facilitate meaningful life experiences and welcoming communities, foster social integration, and thus promote health and well-being.

Funded by: CERIS (2010) and Faculty of Health (2009), York University.

A Pilot Study to Customize the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM)
Research Team: Beryl Pilkington, Nancy Johnston & Nazilla Khanlou (co-Investigator).

The purpose of the pilot study is to customize Ungar's Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) for use with youth residing in a Priorty Area as designated by the City of Toronto and the United Way. Participants will be 10 - 15 youth (males and females, aged 16 - 20) and 5-10 adults living in a designated Priority Neighbourhood, who volunteer to participate in a focus group (one each, for male and female youth, and one for adults) about what it means to be resilient. Participants will be recruited with the assistance of the York-TD Engagement Centre. Focus group data will be used to generate up to ten site specific questions to be used along with the CYRM in future research.

Funded by: Faculty of Health, York University.

Health and Social Service Utilization Among Childbearing Chinese New Immigrants in Canada
Research team: Tsorng-Yeh Lee (PI), Christine Kurtz Landy (co-PI), Olive Wahoush (co-PI) & Nazilla Khanlou (co-PI)

This study will explore how Chinese women who immigrated to Canada in the last 5 years access and use maternity care services and evaluate their perinatal health and birth outcomes. Culturally and linguistically appropriate health care is suggested by many researchers as a necessity for all immigrants in Canada. Language, culture and ethnicity are three major factors that influence immigrant women’s choice of health care provider and health management strategies in the host society (Wang, Rosenberg, & Lo, 2008). Relatively little research examines the access and use of maternity care services by immigrant women in Canada, especially Chinese immigrants-the largest recent immigrant population to migrate to Canada. Chinese practice special culture-based behaviors and eat a special diet during pregnancy and postpartum. The so called “doing the month” or “Zuo Yuezi” is one of those practices. Exploring these cultural practices and preferences will contribute to the body of knowledge related to immigrant women’s self care and health outcomes and will help inform culturally sensitive maternity care for Chinese women who live in Canada.

Funded by: Minor Research Grant & Junior Faculty Funds, Faculty of Health, York University