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Final Report from the Black, African and Caribbean Canadian Health (BLACCH) Study
  • Shamara Baidoobonso
  • Harina Mokanan
  • Leah Meidinger
  • Daniel Pugh
  • Greta Bauer
  • Mercy Nleya-Ncube
  • Julius Ehiemua
  • The BLACCH Study Team, The BLACCH Study Team
Originating in southwestern Ontario, the Black, African and Caribbean Canadian Health (BLACCH) Study began its work in 2009. The BLACCH Study is a mixed-methods community-based research project designed with the goal of improving health care access and the health status of Black people from Canada, Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the world, who reside in London and Middlesex County, Ontario. The research team includes The University of Western Ontario, the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, and the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre. The purpose behind this report is to shed light on the findings and outcomes that have emerged from the BLACCH Study over the past two years. In keeping with the spirit of community-based research this document and its findings will also be shared with members of African, Caribbean and other Black (ACB) communities in London and Middlesex County. In Phase I of this research project, a purposive sample of 30 individuals, which included community members and service providers, were interviewed. Questions were asked concerning the following topics: general health, migration, social determinants of health, health behaviours, HIV/AIDS, service use, social networks, and gendered experiences. Results and themes from this phase influenced the development of Phase II. As such, Phase II of the BLACCH project reached a sample size of approximately 188 London and area ACB residents using three convenience-sampling methods. Quantitative findings of the BLACCH study dictate that the sample ranged from 18 to 72 years and were born in a total of 36 countries (Canada, Ghana, Jamaica and Nigeria were the most commonly reported). As the BLACCH research team assumed, its participants are both diverse and complex. Approximately 42 different languages are spoken by its participants, and when asked about ethnic identities, 237 different responses were given that referred to country, geographic region, race and tribal origins. Some of the highlights from this report (and study) include capturing definitions of health that were holistic—including physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. Efforts of promote health and prevent illness in ACB communities should, thus, be holistic and include faith based leaders as well as health care providers, such as doctors. ACB communities are apparently concerned about chronic health conditions (e.g. diabetes) that can be prevented through diet and exercise. Income and employment are other important issues for ACB people, aside from general needs this can be related to responsibilities, such as sending money to relatives and friends in their countries of origin. Material needs are also greater in Canada; these factors can cause high levels of stress. While many people had been tested for HIV during the immigration process—few people are being tested for HIV when they have new sexual partners. Further, community development initiatives must be broad-based and reflective of diversity—age, gender, ethnicity, region of origin, length of time in Canada, language, etc. Finally, doctors and other health care providers should be aware that mental health is viewed more holistically, and stigma related to mental health prevents many ACB people from accessing mental health services. In conclusion and as a result of this report, the BLACCH Study Team has made the following recommendations: 1. Health care providers and ACB people should be provided with information about ACB people’s specific health care needs 2. ACB people should be encouraged to receive a physical exam every year 3. HIV testing for couples and families should be promoted 4. There should be more education about how to prevent stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and other health conditions Many of these findings will assist in the development of HIV and migration-related service programming for community agencies like the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection and London Cross Cultural Learner Centre.
Publication Date
May 16, 2012
Citation Information
Shamara Baidoobonso, Harina Mokanan, Leah Meidinger, Daniel Pugh, et al.. "Final Report from the Black, African and Caribbean Canadian Health (BLACCH) Study" (2012)
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