Case Synopsis

Immigration plays an integral part in the development of multiculturalism within Canada, with the majority of immigrants representing visible minority communities. Research shows Canada’s newest settlers are more likely to experience health disparities and inequalities compared to non-indigenous and Canadian-born residents. Research further indicates that the access and quality of health services is commonly compromised when health care and/or service providers do not respond appropriately to language and cultural factors impacting newcomer health. Communities vary in culture, traditions, and language, however, are often grouped together. One approach will not fit all with the cultural and ethnic differences within these communities. Ellie is faced with the challenging task to develop a project curriculum that promotes newcomers’ sense of belonging to the community. This teaching case highlights the importance of intersectionality, addresses stigma, and discusses the need for providers to apply antioppressive and antiracist practices when working with diverse communities. The case introduces strategies that can be employed as living processes by which newcomers may contribute as active stakeholders to the overall culture of learning and community well-being.

Case Objectives

1. Explore and reflect how personal biases, assumptions, prejudices, and privileges can lead to conscious or unconscious forms of discrimination and oppression.
2. Identify different approaches to designing a public health program that is culturally responsive, anti-oppressive, antiracist, and acknowledges stigma and trauma.
3. Apply different lenses (transferable knowledge) when working with diverse populations, including intersectional, newcomer, and social determinants of health lenses.
4. Explore how to use trauma- and violence-informed care when working with vulnerable populations, and how to address the different types of stigma.

Case Study Questions

1. Everyone has, at some point, contributed to stigma without knowing it or meaning to. Can you share or think of a time where you spoke or acted in a way that could have caused stigma or discrimination? If so, what can you learn from this experience?
2. Unlearning our own attitudes, values and beliefs is a key theme throughout this case. What are some negative attitudes, values, and beliefs that are prevalent in society?
3. How do you think service providers can be more sensitive to the challenge’s newcomers face, and how can they better support newcomers to navigating health services?


Cultural competent care, transferable knowledge, un-learning, intersectionality, stigma, oppression, racism, social and cultural determinants of health, trauma, trauma- and violenceinformed care



Recommended Citation

Chrzaniecki, A., Yoshith, P., Sibbald, S. L. (2022). Journeying Together—Unlearning is the New Learning. in: Darnell, R. & Sibbald, S. L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2021. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.