First-generation immigrants to Canada are believed to be healthier than people of similar ethnic backgrounds who were born here. But some studies have shown that over time, their health advantages diminish dramatically. As Canada Research Chair in Applied Population Health, Dr. Marcelo Urquia is trying to better understand the possible selection biases behind the so-called “healthy migrant effect” and advance immigrant health research in general.
To do this, he and his research team are using recent data related to 270,000 international immigrants to Manitoba to assess the influence of immigrant selection on hospitalizations and death data among immigrants, outmigrants, returnees and stayers. They are also examining intra- and inter-ethnic patterns of intimate partner violence using multi-sectoral data to help identify which subgroups most need violence prevention and harm reduction initiatives. In addition, they are studying the connection between family structure and health and the “spillover effects” that the illness of one family member can have on the health of the rest of the family.