DailyNews Issue for Friday, Dec 2nd, 2016

UWindsor study to track long-term health and wellness of Syrian refugees

Ben KuoPsychology professor Ben Kuo will lead the Windsor portion of a national study into the long-term integration of Syrian refugees into Canadian life.

Researchers across Canada are starting a five-year intensive study to monitor how Syrian refugees are settling into Canadian life. Psychology professor Ben Kuo will lead the UWindsor portion of the national study and will track the ongoing physical and mental health of 135 Syrian refugees living in Windsor.

“It’s exciting to see research addressing this immediate issue we are facing in Canada,” says Dr. Kuo. “Such innovative research is an enormous undertaking, so it is wonderful that Windsor will become a key player in such a massive project.”

The project, Long-term Integration and Health Outcomes of Syrian Refugees in Canada, received $1.3 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to track Syrian refugees who moved to Canada with government assistance or private sponsorship.

“This is the first study in Canada to have the opportunity to look at long-term integration for refugees,” Kuo says. “And it is a timely issue, as Canada will continue to bring in refugees, with a thousand arriving in Windsor in just the last 12 months.”

The questionnaires will address how individuals and families are utilizing various services like language, physical health, psychological and mental health. Two Arabic-speaking research assistants will conduct focus groups and in-home surveys in that language.

“We’ve designed the entire experience to be culturally respectful and non-intrusive,” says Kuo. “Instead of sending out an e-mail with a link to a faceless digital survey, our researchers will build trust by going into the homes and speaking to the refugees one-on-one, in their own language.”

The long-term study follows participants four years beyond the typical monitoring period. The Canadian government’s Resettlement Assistance Program offers refugees services and financial assistance for up to 12 months to help them find housing, schools, literacy classes, and employment.

Kuo says that after being displaced from traumatic and violent situations, some people may require long-term mental health help. Yet, psychological issues may not rise to the surface until after their first year living in Canada, when the focus tends to revolve around the day-to-day basics of living.

“In most cases, mental health issues are not immediately revealed, but after a couple of years, as they become comfortable in their adoptive home, their past experiences of trauma and loss start to creep in, and these long lasting scars can be accompanied by shame,” says Kuo.

By closely studying this one specific group of refugees, Kuo says he hopes they can highlight issues that affect various groups who arrive from different parts of the world. This will help provide a base of data for future policy changes.

“If we can get solid data showing mental health issues surfacing a year or more after that initial bracket of service, we can understand what needs to happen next,” he says. “We’ll know what additional mental health services, regarding therapy or intervention, are needed over the long term so they feel more welcome and integrated into Canadian society.”

The Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County will help the UWindsor team find the local 135 participants, with the first interviews expected to commence in January 2017. Nationally, researchers will conduct studies with 2,250 refugees who settled in large and small cities across several provinces.

The national team will consist of academic researchers, psychologists, psychiatrists, public health and refugee studies researchers as well as community agencies, health clinics and physicians. UWindsor joins academic researchers from the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto and York University.

Instructor to solo and lead chorus in weekend concerts

Bruce KotowichBruce Kotowich will lead the chorus and add his bass voice in solo performance for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s concert program this weekend.

Bruce Kotowich, director of choirs at the University of Windsor and chorus master for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, is also one of the featured soloists during the orchestra’s concert program this weekend.

Dr. Kotowich, who sings bass, will solo during the “Messiah & More” concerts:

  • Saturday, December 3, at Leamington United Mennonite Church
  • Sunday, December 4, at St. Anne’s Church in Tecumseh

Both performances start at 7:30 p.m.

The program will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria in its entirety, along with excerpts from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, including the movements “And he shall purify,” “For unto us a child is born,” and the “Hallelujah” chorus. Kotowich will sing the bass arias Thus saith the Lord, For behold, darkness and The people that walked in darkness.

Purchase tickets by phone at 519-973-1238, online at windsorsymphony.com, or in person at the WSO Box Office, 121 University Avenue West.

Lancer men’s hockey game to send anti-bullying message

Bullying hurts posterA men’s hockey game Friday will highlight the “Lancers against Bullying” awareness program.

Students from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board will be bused to South Windsor Arena today — Friday, December 2 — to watch the Lancer men’s hockey team face off against the Nipissing Lakers.

As part of the “Lancers against Bullying” awareness campaign, the event will help to educate local youths about the detrimental effects of bullying and what they can do to help prevent it. The game starts at a special mid-day time: 12:30 p.m. Read more at goLancers.ca.

The Lancers will play their final game before the holidays when they host Nipissing for a rematch, Saturday at 4 p.m.

The only other varsity action this weekend is basketball at the Ryerson Rams, Saturday in Toronto. The women will play at 4 p.m. and the men tip off at 6 p.m.

United Way campaign on track to meet fundraising goal

Pauline Strong, Datta PillayPrize winner Pauline Strong accepts congratulations from Datta Pillay, co-chair of the campus campaign for United Way.

The campus campaign for United Way has reached more than $97,000 in donations and pledges and will likely reach its goal, co-chair Datta Pillay told supporters at a celebratory reception Thursday.

He noted that 367 UWindsor employees contributed this year, up from 321 last year, and that their average gift has reached $245. He expects the total will continue to rise as stragglers submit their pledge forms.

Lorraine Goddard, chief executive officer of United Way Windsor-Essex County, expressed appreciation for the university’s campaign team: “Those volunteers reach out to donors, share our message and garner support.”

She said the contributions from campus make a difference in the community.

“You know that the clearest pathway out of poverty is through education,” Goddard said. “Your dollars are going to help us make that a reality for children growing up in poverty.”

Pauline Strong of the law library won an extra vacation day in a draw for donors in attendance at the appreciation event. Other winners in the prize draw included:

  • Laurie Souilliere, iPad mini
  • Deborah Moore, a Garmin Vivofit fitness band
  • Victoria Paraschak, Sony wireless headphones
  • Marcia Vailente, JBL Flip portable wireless stereo speaker
  • Wendy Bedard, $100 gift card to Mezzo restaurant
  • William Crosby, Acer liquid Z320 cell phone
  • Hans Hansen, Acer Iconia One 7 tablet
  • Sandra Neposlan, a six-month campus parking pass
  • Mary Kuznik-Matos, one year’s membership in the Forge Fitness Centre
  • Brett Angell and Christine Cote, University Players three-play subscription 2016-2017 season
  • Nick Keren, Trevor Pittman, Erica Stevens Abbitt and Achla Dewan, two-ticket passes each to the School of Creative Arts music concert of their choice;
  • Kathryn Edmunds, $100 gift card to Piccolo’s restaurant
  • Darrell Strand and Jas Sohi, Cineplex movie package (admission, drinks and popcorn for 2 adults)
  • Rachelle Badour, an extra day’s vacation;
  • Mike Fisher, complimentary membership to the Costco warehouse club.

Provost Douglas Kneale praised the work of the organizing committee, especially this year’s sponsored employee Sara McNorton, who has spent the semester working with the United Way.