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Research on Youth and Migration: Implications of Ethnographic Perspectives for Promoting Health and Well-being Julia Meredith Hess, Ph.D. Postdoctoral.

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Presentation on theme: "Research on Youth and Migration: Implications of Ethnographic Perspectives for Promoting Health and Well-being Julia Meredith Hess, Ph.D. Postdoctoral."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research on Youth and Migration: Implications of Ethnographic Perspectives for Promoting Health and Well-being Julia Meredith Hess, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Pediatrics February 24, 2010  One of every five children in the U.S. is an immigrant or child of immigrants (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2009).  In New Mexico, almost 10% of the population is foreign born (U.S. Census Bureau)  Approximately 65% of children of recent immigrants live in families with low income; poverty is strongly related to numerous negative health and education outcomes (Douglas-Hall & Koball, 2004).  The traumatic experiences many refugees and immigrants have fled from, as well as the multiple challenges associated with adjusting to a new country, language, and culture, result in many health challenges and disparities for these populations.  One of every five children in the U.S. is an immigrant or child of immigrants (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2009).  In New Mexico, almost 10% of the population is foreign born (U.S. Census Bureau)  Approximately 65% of children of recent immigrants live in families with low income; poverty is strongly related to numerous negative health and education outcomes (Douglas-Hall & Koball, 2004).  The traumatic experiences many refugees and immigrants have fled from, as well as the multiple challenges associated with adjusting to a new country, language, and culture, result in many health challenges and disparities for these populations.

2 Immigrant Ambassadors: Citizenship and Belonging in the Tibetan Diaspora 6 years of multi-sited fieldwork in the U.S. & India 60+ formal interviews Participant observation—celebrations, tutoring Archival Research on Tibet-U.S. Resettlement Project Bilingual survey on effects of migration (211 respondents) 6 years of multi-sited fieldwork in the U.S. & India 60+ formal interviews Participant observation—celebrations, tutoring Archival Research on Tibet-U.S. Resettlement Project Bilingual survey on effects of migration (211 respondents) Focus on state policy and migrant responses in terms of identity and desire to migrate  health and well- being? Migrant status (de facto refugee, undocumented migrant, asylee or citizen) has impact on identity and desire for further migration Transnational context crucial for understanding cultural change and identity production Focus on state policy and migrant responses in terms of identity and desire to migrate  health and well- being? Migrant status (de facto refugee, undocumented migrant, asylee or citizen) has impact on identity and desire for further migration Transnational context crucial for understanding cultural change and identity production

3 Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth and Global Migration Edited by Cati Coe, Rachel Reynolds, Debbie Boehm, Julia Meredith Hess and Heather Rae-Espinoza. Vanderbilt University Press, forthcoming Center of parents’ motivations for migration—for basic survival, but also for class mobility, and educational opportunity Children/youth often migrate on their own Children at the center of migration decision-making Individual experience, families and communities are increasingly transnational in scope Local  transnational frame of analysis Children and youth constitute a vulnerable population, but we must pay attention to their concept of self and agency (definition: agency is the idea that humans can intentionally mobilize resources and power to achieve transformative effects ) Do children and youth act to transform policy and in what ways? State policy

4 Iraqi Refugee Children in Albuquerque: Analyzing Well-being from the Perspective of Children and Adolescents Qualitative Research Methodology: Participant observation Qualitative interviews to explore resettlement experiences and coping of Iraqi children and youth 2 open-ended qualitative interviews with 12 children and youth. Photovoice Refugee Well-being Project Directed by Dr. Jessica Goodkind, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics Currently in 4 th year of implementation of pilot study 6 month intervention to improve mental health and well-being of recently arrived refugees Research to assess well-being of refugees and effect of intervention on mental health and well-being Refugee Well-being Project Directed by Dr. Jessica Goodkind, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics Currently in 4 th year of implementation of pilot study 6 month intervention to improve mental health and well-being of recently arrived refugees Research to assess well-being of refugees and effect of intervention on mental health and well-being How does the changing concept of childhood and role of migrant children in families and institutional contexts affect their health and well-being? Research has found that stressors of resettlement affect refugee and migrant health. How is children’s health impacted in comparison with their parents? Children and youth are particularly adept at understanding cultural values and systems from their home culture and their new home. How does this kind of cultural integration impact stress? Does it contribute to coping strategies?

5 Implications of Ethnographic Research on Health and Well-being of Children Research the perspective of youth and children on processes, policies, interactions with providers, health care institutions, schools and other institutions. View children and youth as actors and ask how this impacts health care decision-making, and practices for individuals and for families and institutions Focus on strength and resiliency of children and coping mechanisms in the face of trauma, disease, and resulting challenges


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