The South Asian eHealth Literacy Project is a research study funded by the Vancouver Foundation. This two-year project (September 2014 to August 2016) aims to understand what support members of Surrey’s South Asian community need in order to use eHealth tools to manage and prevent chronic diseases.
The project is guided by a participatory action research model. Community partners, students, and researchers will use community-appropriate research techniques to gain an understanding of facilitators and barriers affecting access to electronic health information and tools. Techniques will include community workshops, photovoice (a research methodology where community members represent their perspective and share experiences through photographs), surveys and interviews. The project will include qualitative and quantitative data analysis resulting from the mixed methods techniques used.
In the course of the project we seek to understand facilitators and barriers of technology use in Surrey’s South Asian community. We also strive to increase capacity for health research in the community and identify opportunities and relevant partners to enable community initiatives.
In October, South Asian eHealth Literacy Project team members met with community networks to inform them that the project had been funded and explore strategies for connecting with the South Asian public. This was followed by an opportunity to host a booth at the recent November iCON Punjabi Forum in Surrey. The iCON event was a very successful venue for connecting with the public and recruiting participants for data collection in February 2015. 40 participants were recruited at this event. In early December, a strategic key informant focus group will be conducted with community leaders from all language groups within Surrey’s South Asian community to set direction for data collection with general community members.
Community capacity is being developed through the engagement and training of a community research associate. Further, in January, this project and iCON are collaborating to support stable and ongoing volunteer positions that provide training and experience in research, community health and engagement.