New York University College of Nursing's Professor Michele Shedlin, PhD, recently published a paper, "Sending-Country Violence and Receiving-Country Discrimination: Effects on the Health of Colombian Refugees in Ecuador," on-line in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, February 2, 2013.
Studies of immigrant health have historically focused on individual-level risk factors more than environmental/structural factors as salient mediating variables. Shedlin's research addresses the need to reach a more complete understanding of the migration process and vulnerabilities experienced by refugees as they cross international borders, particularly in South America.
"The main objective of the study was to gather descriptive data on the characteristics of recent refugees moving from Colombia into Ecuador as a result of drug-related violence and how the conflict, displacement and a new environment affected their health vulnerabilities and risk behaviors," said Shedlin.
Findings highlight the urgent need for identifying specific health risks experienced by mobile and displaced populations, underscoring the voluntary and involuntary risk behaviors shaped by the nature and reach of life and environmental changes.
Originally submitted as "Substance Abuse and Health Vulnerability: Colombian Refugees in Ecuador," the study title and focus were modified in-country to address the concerns of advocacy agencies regarding the association of substance abuse with the refugees. The sample participants were recruited only in urban Quito, and participants were recruited through peers and trusted NGO sources.
The urgency of forced displacement to escape violence shapes the migration and adaptation of Colombian refugees in Ecuador.
"What emerged as most salient, were data on how the sequelae of violence, coupled with the stigma and discrimination experienced as refugees, affect all aspects of health, well-being, and su
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New York University