ACTIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS

Irnisursiriartutuq nunaringngitamini (birthing outside the community): Childbirth evacuation, perinatal depression and health outcomes of Nunavimmiut mothers and their infants. In partnership with the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, I am the principal investigator of a longitudinal observational cohort study that examines the short-term and long-term effects of childbirth evacuation on maternal perinatal health and infant development among 300+ Nunavimmiut mother-infant pairs. We will compare and contrast childbirth evacuees’ outcomes with a comparison group of Inuit mothers who remain in Nunavik for childbirth. Specifically, the project (i) investigates whether and how childbirth evacuation affects stress and depression during pregnancy; (ii) assesses the association between both prenatal and postpartum depression and infant growth/development; and (iii) implements an integrated knowledge transfer (iKT) plan with community members and organizational partners to raise awareness of perinatal depression, promote healthy pregnancies, and improve support for Inuit women and their families. The study results will have direct relevance to healthcare policy and service delivery in Nunavik and will also be pertinent to Inuit communities in other parts of Inuit Nunangat and the circumpolar north (e.g., Greenland, Alaska, and Russia). Research Team: PI Z. Vang; co-PI R. Gagnon; CIs E.Chachamovich, E. Labranche, L. Kirmayer; Collaborators K. Bertrand, A. Navickas.
Funder: CIHR

 

Mind the gap: Disparities in perinatal health among foreign-born women in Canada. I am the principal investigator of a study on immigrant perinatal health that makes use of novel administrative and vital statisics data linkages. Migration is a gendered process with differential exposures to health risks for men and women at different stages of immigration. Reproductive age migrant women are a unique population in terms of health challenges because of the added vulnerability that occurs during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Prior research, conducted by members of our team, reveals that maternal health is particularly poor among immigrants in Canada. Immigrant women have worse self -rated health, more postpartum health complications, and higher rates of perinatal depression than Canadian-born women. Immigrant women also do not consistently have better pregnancy outcomes compared to native-born women. This study utilizes linked administrative databases—vital statistics, hospital discharge data, and immigrant landing records—to estimate crude and age-standardized non-delivery antenatal hospitalization rates, adverse birth outcomes, stillbirth, infant mortality, and maternal mortality by nativity status. Within the immigrant population, we also examine variations in these perinatal health outcomes by immigrant category (e.g., refugee vs. economic class), duration of residence in Canada, age at migration, and country/region of origin. We also investigate whether pre-migration gender inequality experienced in the country of origin continue to have lasting perinatal health consequences once immigrant women have settled in Canada. Research Team: PI Z. Vang; CIs S. Yang, B. Vissandjee; Collaborator E. Ng
Funder: CIHR 

 

Engaging Inuit concerning perinatal health & wellness: Developing insights, interests and an approach to action. Complicated by the disruption of traditional gender egalitarianism, roles and identities through settler colonialism, Inuit communities today face substantial challenges and institutional barriers to optimal maternal and infant wellness. I am a co-principal investigator on a community-based study that engages Inuit in Arviat, Nunavut to determine key priority areas concerning Inuit perinatal health and the role that women’s empowerment might have in improving maternal and infant wellbeing. By applying a gender lens to the topic of perinatal health and wellness, we will explore existing gender inequities that may hinder women’s access to supportive prenatal and maternity care. We will also directly engage fathers and other community members in ways that are consistent with and draw upon understandings of Inuit Quajimajatuqangit (IQ).Research Team: PI G. Baikie; CI P. Johnston; Collaborator S. Tagalik
Funder: CIHR 

Decolonizing childbirth with Nunavik Inuit women transferred to high-risk hospitals for childbirth: A co-designed pilot intervention. I am a co-investigator on study that utilizes participatory research approaches and fuzzy cognitive mapping to co-design and pilot an intervention with Nunavimmiut women, their families and community members, as well as perinatal healthcare providers and policy makers in Nunavik and Montreal. The intervention is aimed at improving perinatal health for Inuit by mobilizing and affirming Inuit knowledges and values of childbirth and engaging Inuit voices in service delivery improvement to support culturally safe childbirth in southern maternities. Research Team: PI N. Andersson; Co-PI R. Budgell; CIs A. Cockcroft, Z. Vang, K. Wou; Collaborators H. Silver, A. Alaku, B. Epoo, J. Stonier, A. Moorhouse, V. Van Wagner, J. Tremblay-Pouliot, F. Pernet, M. Bourassa, R. Fusco
Funder: CIHR 

 

Socioeconomic and ethnocultural disparities in perinatal health in Canada: Current pattern and changes over time. I am a co-investigator on a study examining socioeconomic and ethnocultural disparities in perinatal health in Canada using a novel linked dataset that combines information from birth records with the 2016 census (2016 CanBCC). The 2016 CanBCC permits national-level population-based analysis of birth outcomes, stillbirth and infant mortality for all women in Canada, including immigrants and Indigenous women. Combined with the 1996 CanBCC and 2006 CanBCC, datasets that were previously created in another study, we will produce policy-relevant national trends in perinatal outcomes by socioeconomic gradients and for different populations that span two decades. Research Team: PI Y. Yang; CIs T. Bushnik, J.Kaufman, A. Mashford-Pringle, G. Shapiro, C. Shirt, Z. Vang
Funder: CIHR