January 22, 2007
Media Release

Closing the gap

 
 
Working with Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities of York Region
 
NEWMARKET York Region Health Services has embarked on the creation and implementation of a three-phased outreach program to the Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities of York Region.  National Non-Smoking Week has been chosen to showcase outcomes of the first two phases and launch the third phase of the Innovative Smoking Intervention Program (ISIP).  This program is funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion, under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
 
WHEN: Tuesday, January 23rd, 9:30 10:00 a.m.
 
WHERE: The Regional Municipality of York (2nd floor main foyer)
50 High Tech Road (Hwy. 7 & Yonge Street), Richmond Hill
 
WHO: ● The Honourable Jim Watson, Minister of Health Promotion
● Mayor David Barrow, Town of Richmond Hill 
● Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Chair of the York Region's Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee
● Dr. Karim Kurji, Acting Medical Officer of Health and Director of Public Health Programs
● Representatives from community partners and agencies
 
BACKGROUND:
 
This event provides York Region Health Services with an opportunity to highlight some of the key survey findings from phase two of the program, and announce phase three: the plan for reducing the number of children in Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities who begin smoking.
 
Also during this event, the Honourable Jim Watson, Minister of Health Promotion, will present The Regional Municipality of York with the Heather Crowe Award, created by the McGuinty government.  The Heather Crowe Award recognizes individuals and organizations across Ontario who have made a significant contribution to tobacco control efforts at a local level.  The award is named in honour of the Ottawa-area waitress Heather Crowe who was diagnosed with and died from lung cancer due to exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace.
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours cell (905) 716-2717
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca
 
 
Backgrounder
 

January 22, 2007
 

Closing the gap

 
Working with Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities of York Region
 
NEWMARKET It is recognized that each cultural community has unique behaviours, attitudes and perceptions about tobacco use.  Tobacco education, cessation programs and services are best designed when these factors are known and taken into consideration.
 
York Region Health Services' Smoke-Free Ontario Team was funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion.  Its task is to create and implement an Innovative Smoking Intervention Program, under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
 
The Innovative Smoking Intervention Program focuses its outreach and services on members of the Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities in York Region. These languages and cultural groups are three of the top six intake languages in the York Region District School Board, and are also faced with unique issues related to tobacco use. Targeting parents with culturally sensitive best practice health promotion programs will help achieve the overall goal of impacting the number of children who begin smoking.
 
Phase one of the program consisted of the development of a survey tool to assess smoking behaviour and perceptions among the target population. This involved language translation, field testing and survey refinement. Phase two included data collection, descriptive analysis and interpretation. A convenience sample of 151 respondents from each target population self-administered the tool in the presence of facilitators from the target populations.  The results and recommendations arising from this needs assessment exercise directed the third phase which is to create a best practice tobacco education, prevention and cessation program for the Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities in York Region. Phases one and two are completed, and phase three is underway.
 
Summary of Survey Findings:
 Survey results indicate that the Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking respondents were aware of the harmful effects of tobacco  
 Respondents who were parents felt that parental smoking had a strong influence on children and were willing to talk to their children about smoking
 Stress, loneliness/boredom and addiction were the top three reasons for smoking reported by respondents who were current smokers
 Commitment to quit smoking among respondents at the time of the survey was low
 Counselling from a doctor was considered to be the best support for quitting smoking by Farsi and Urdu-speaking respondents who were current smokers, while Russian-speaking respondents who were current smokers were more likely to try to quit on their own
 Pamphlets, newspapers and magazines were listed as the preferred ways to obtain information about smoking
 English is acceptable for program delivery, but there is a preference to receive information in one's native language
 

Summary of Recommendations:
 There is a need for tobacco cessation education among members of the Farsi, Urdu and Russian-speaking populations. Tobacco education programs for these groups should:
 Include gender specific information
 Acknowledge the impact of stress, addiction and boredom
 Increase options for cessation support counselling, including physician support
 Provide cessation self-help options
 Be culturally specific and sensitive
 Parents need resources to help them talk to their children about tobacco
 Education, prevention and cessation materials should be produced and translated into Farsi, Urdu and Russian, for distribution through newspapers, magazines, and physicians
 
Next Steps:
The results and recommendations arising from this needs assessment exercise will guide the York Region Health Services Smoke-Free Ontario Team in developing a best practice tobacco education, prevention and cessation program for the Farsi, Russian and Urdu-speaking communities in York Region.
 
Key elements of this program will include:
 The development of culturally specific and sensitive tobacco education programs for the three target populations
 The production, translation and distribution of tobacco-related educational materials specific to the Farsi, Urdu and Russian-speaking populations
 The hiring of three lay counsellors that will work in and with each of these communities on tobacco cessation and education campaigns
 
For more information on this or other health-related topics, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free) or visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours cell (905) 716-2717
 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

Contact Information
 
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