The Toronto Teen Survey’s new release, Newcomer and Longer-Term Immigrant Youth Bulletin, reports on how immigrant youth access sexual health information and offers recommendations to help service providers enhance the quality of sexual health services to this population.
In her presentation, investigator Roxana Salehi identified an interesting finding: newcomer youth are cautious of going to clinics where staff members or physicians share their own ethnic/cultural/religious background. They fear that a) the staff will tell their parents, and b) their shared background may produce an environment of judgment and general discomfort. These findings were echoed by several service providers attending the forum and some asserted that once trust was established, newcomer youth prefer staff members who share their background.
Language plays an interesting role in newcomer youth’s preferences. The report indicates that “linguistically accessible services” is defined by newcomer youth as places where they are able to ask questions and relate to interpreters. Feeling comfortable asking questions and having a doctor who understands them is more important to newcomer youth than having someone who speaks their language. An exception to this finding is among youth with poor language proficiency where it can helpful talking to someone who speaks their language. It was noted, however, that the presence of an interpreter can pose a barrier to open communication, as trust needs to be built between additional people.
Download the full Toronto Teen Survey Report for more information about how Toronto teens feel about sexual health and sexual health care services.
Investigators: Sarah Flicker, June Larkin, Robb Travers, Jason Pole, Adrian Guta, Roxana Salehi, & Susan Flynn.
Toronto Teen Survey (2009). Newcomer and Longer-term Immigrant Bulletin. Planned Parenthood Toronto, Toronto, ON.