Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Postpartum Depression Among South Asian Women

Excerpt taken from The Langar Hall.

We are only beginning to hear about the prevalence of postpartum depression in the larger community, so it comes as no surprise to me that we hear about it even less within the South Asian community. Recent research suggests that Indian women, particularly new immigrants, may be at a higher risk of postpartum depression than their non-Indian counterparts. Experts suggest isolation stemming from the immigrant experience and a lack of the traditional support system often found in the home countries, as reasons for increased prevalence among Indian women.

In the United States, about one in 10 women suffers from postpartum depression (PPD). South Asian women may be at a higher risk for PPD, due to the impact of acculturation and cultural customs including factors such as arranged marriage and the gender of the child. There are many cultural factors that impact the immigrant woman’s vulnerability of being affected by postpartum depression.

In several studies conducted in India and Europe, giving birth to a female infant was directly related to postpartum depression. There is great pressure on women to produce a male heir, especially for women who already have one girl child, the studies concluded… “The struggles of fitting into a new society and the isolation many women feel increases stress, which can result in mood disorders,” says Narasimhan. She has found that key factors in successful acculturation include community support, places of worship and the company of other women. Genetics can also play a role. “If your mother and grandmother suffered from postpartum depression, it’s likely you will as well,” Narasimhan says. Other physical factors for postpartum depression include hypo-thyroidism and anemia, both prevalent among South Asian women.
Read More.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Punjabi Language Domestic Violence DVDs

A new series of culture and language-specific DVDs aimed at helping new immigrant women, children and seniors understand and escape abuse in the home is set to be released across Metro Vancouver to prompt discussion on a topic many who work to prevent domestic violence feel has too long been overlooked.
"We want to trigger a conversation. It's like giving permission to the communities to talk about this," Assanand said. The DVDs will be available in three languages -- Punjabi, Mandarin and Spanish, each with English subtitles -- and will depict three culturally specific scenarios of child abuse, wife abuse and elder abuse. Punjabi speakers, for instance, will see a domestic abuse situation that features not just a husband and wife, but also an extended family, including a mother and father-in-law. "The male may do the final act of hitting, for instance, but the other members of the family can either prevent or aggravate the situation," Assanand said.
The scenarios were put together by an advisory committee, with strong input from members of each ethnic community, in order to deliver a message that really hits home, while remaining sensitive to community values. Common themes in each production include the stresses of resettlement in Canada, language barriers and culture shock. The three language groups were selected for the DVD project in order to maximize exposure to the largest number of people, and not because the groups are exposed to more abuse than others. The program was launched following a number of high-profile murders of women in B.C.'s South Asian community in recent years. [link]

Friday, September 05, 2008

Celebrity Degrees

I've always thought the Public Health field attracted the most interesting, amazing, and definitely cool people. So, it doesn't surprise me that celebrities are also being drawn to obtaining public health related degrees,

Christy Turlington is going back to college to study maternal and child health at Columbia University. "I have explored several career paths and have discovered that in addition to being a mother, a career in service is most fitting," she told us. Perhaps she can study nights with Chelsea Clinton. The former First Daughter is also starting a master's program at Columbia, majoring in public health policy, according to a source. [link]
I'm not getting excited just because they are famous ladies, I'm excited that more attention is being given to the, often neglected, public health field.