Fostering a Welcoming Environment: The Sixth ‘Setting Immigrants Up For Success’ Event

As we continue to embrace diversity and welcome newcomers into our communities, it becomes essential to understand the challenges immigrants face when starting a new life in a foreign land. The “Setting Immigrants Up For Success” event, now in its sixth iteration, promises to provide valuable insights and foster a more welcoming environment through sponsorship, language, and health services. The event will take place on Thursday, October 19, 2023, from 12:30 to 4:00 pm at Gateway Church, 890 Sarnia Rd, London.

The theme of this event, “Fostering a welcoming environment through Sponsorship, Language, and Health Services,” highlights the importance of a holistic approach to immigrant integration. By addressing the key areas of sponsorship, language support, and healthcare access, we can make a significant impact on the lives of newcomers to our community.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2023

Time: 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Location: Gateway Church, 890 Sarnia Rd, London

This free in-person event is open to everyone, with a special invitation to leaders and members of all faith groups and individuals who provide assistance to newcomers. Whether you’re an established community member or a recent immigrant yourself, this event promises to offer valuable insights and networking opportunities.

Register Now:

To join this important conversation and be a part of the solution in creating a more welcoming environment for immigrants, make sure to register for the event. You can register and find more details by clicking here.

The “Setting Immigrants Up For Success” event has been a beacon of hope and positive change for our community. It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together, learn, and take action to make our communities even more inclusive and welcoming for newcomers. By focusing on sponsorship, language, and healthcare, we can work towards a brighter future where immigrants can thrive and contribute to the richness of our diverse society. Don’t miss this chance to be part of the change on October 19, 2023, at Gateway Church in London.

Weight Stigma in Clinical Practice


Multiple studies have found that healthcare providers hold weight stigmatizing attitudes, but few explore how weight stigma happens or how it may be disrupted. In this workshop clinicians and/or clinical instructors are invited to learn the existence of weight stigma in clinical practice and how to disrupt it from Zoe Leyland, PhD, and Eva Pila, PhD. 

More information on this workshop and others can be found:

Learning Outcomes 

By the end of this workshop, participants will understand the existence of weight stigma and learn ways to disrupt weight stigma in practice.


Date: Thursday, June 15, 2023 (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST)
Location: Virtual via Zoom
Registration Fee: No cost for participants
Expected Audience: Clinicians/Clinical Instructors

Registration Link

A certificate of completion will be available to all workshop participants.

Questions? Please contact:
Zoe Leyland
EDIDA and Interprofessional Education Coordinator
Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University | 519 661-2111 x85593

Please register by Wednesday, June 14

It is strongly recommended that registration is for an individual and not groups as participation will be involved.

Register Now - Registration linked button

(Re)connecting to Make London a TVIC Community: A CRHESI Networking Event

In Fall 2017, CRHESI hosted an event to bring people together to discuss making London a “Trauma- and Violence-Informed Care (TVIC) Community.” The idea was to spark interest in equity-promoting, trauma- and violence-informed approaches to service across organizations and sectors in London and area. Since then, many have taken up the challenge, and incredible work has been done. In partnership with the London InterCommunity Health Centre, we’re reconvening the group of TVIC implementors and champions – and inviting the broader community – to talk about their work, including the successes and challenges they’ve experienced and the adaptations they’ve made to adjust to a global pandemic. Come hear about this completed and ongoing work, and share your thoughts for our next steps. We’ll also provide a pre-order link to our new book “Implementing Trauma- and Violence-Informed Care: A Handbook” which documents much of this work, providing tools and guidance to those starting on their TVIC journey. Register soon because space is limited. 

Park at the Factory entrance (closest to Kellogg Lane and Florence Street) head up the large staircase and into the Factory. Make your way to the elevator, located by Mystery Escape Rooms (MER) and head down to the ground floor. The set of doors straight ahead off the elevator is the room (Corporate Meeting Room).

Please contact CRHESI coordinators ( if you have questions or need more inforamtion.

We look forward to a great discussion!

Why we Need Trauma- and Violence-Informed Maternal and Child Health Services: New Research from Rwanda and Local Implications

Aimable Nkurunziza, PhD Candidate (Nursing, Western University) and Berman Family Graduate Award Holder

Dear reader, please take care when reading the following blog as it refers to issues of sexual and other forms of violence.

Photo by OWUROOLA ADEWALE on Unsplash

Trauma- and violence-informed care (TVIC) recognizes the intersectional impacts of structural inequalities, violence, and traumatic events, emphasizing both historical and ongoing violence. This approach emphasizes how a person’s past and present experiences of violence have shaped them, so problems are viewed as rooted in both their psychological and social conditions.

This sets the stage for why Rwanda is an important case study, given both the collective trauma of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and the gender-based violence (GBV) that was (i.e., genocidal rape) and is still so prevalent there, as it is here.

These observations are based on my PhD thesis exploring the experiences of adolescent mothers in perinatal services in Rwanda. From December 2021 to March 2022, I interviewed 15 adolescent mothers, 12 nurses and midwives, 12 community health workers (CHWs), and seven key informants (heads of health centers and supervisors of CHWs). I also reviewed two relevant documents that guide professional practice in this area.

Adolescent Mothers: Complexities and Challenges in Rwanda

Although Rwanda has made significant social and economic progress since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, adolescent pregnancies, accounting for 5% of all pregnancies, remain a significant concern. Adolescent pregnancy is considered deviant and shameful in Rwandan culture, and indeed criminalized, thus young pregnant women and girls are often abandoned by the men who impregnated them, and face rejection from families and friends, stigma from the community, and increased rates of domestic violence.  In addition, over half of these pregnancies are the result rape. All of these factors increase the risk for mental health problems among these young women and girls, including high rates of depression and posttraumatic stress.

Violence and Inequities Affect Adolescent Mothers in Rwandan Perinatal Services

Perinatal nurses and midwives support adolescent mothers from antenatal care to the post-partum period and in subsequent child health services. However, to obtain services, a yearly fee of 3000 Rwf (almost $4 CAD) is needed for a health insurance card. Although low by Canadian standards this is out of reach for many Rwandan young mothers, especially if they have been ostracized by their families. So, when these young women and girls first go to a health center, for example when they learn they are pregnant, staff ask them first for their health insurance, which they usually do not have. Whether they receive further care varies; in extreme cases they will be sent back to their village where a leader will need to confirm that they can not afford insurance. The further shame and stigma of this process is an added form of systemic violence and trauma for adolescent mothers.

In addition, at the first pre-natal visit, every woman is required to bring her partner to be tested for HIV. For adolescents, especially those who are pregnant due to sexual assault, these requirements can be extremely (re)traumatizing. Those whose partners abandon them also indicate that hearing a nurse or midwife call the man who impregnated her “a father or husband” is harmful, given his lack of support. Healthcare professionals’ stigmatizing attitudes, disrespectful maternity care and even abuse towards adolescent mothers have been reported in Rwandan health facilities. In other research, only a few nurses and midwives (14%) reported that they were equipped, in antenatal care services, to take care of a client exposed to violence.

Because of these past and ongoing structural and interpersonal forms of violence, and their traumatic effects, pregnant adolescents in Rwanda often feel unsafe in the perinatal environment and sometimes lose trust in healthcare professionals. Others show signs of re-traumatization; a fact which healthcare professionals may not be trained to recognize or respond to. Most professionals try their best to support pregnant adolescents, including teaching and advocating for them, but lack of training and recognition of these issues in health services contexts make this very challenging.

Vicarious Trauma

Vicarious trauma, the harmful effects on providers of hearing stories of violence and abuse among their young patients, is also a concern. Providers may feel immediate emotional responses, and/or they may carry this burden out of the workplace, or, as I found in some of my data, even start to project what happened to those adolescent mothers to their own children, such as by being more protective or not allowing dating relationships. Most of these healthcare professionals do not know how to take measures to mitigate vicarious trauma, and their organizations do not provide needed supports. Therefore, incorporating Trauma- and Violence-Informed Care (TVIC) in Rwandan perinatal services would benefit pregnant and mothering adolescents, healthcare professionals, other perinatal clients, and health and social care systems.

Adolescent Mothers in the Canadian Context

In Canada, teen mothers face challenges similar to Rwandans when mothering; for example, researchers at the University of Alberta found that teenage mothers suffer from abuse and postpartum depression much more than their older counterparts. A study conducted at the Lawson Health Research Institute along with Brescia University College in London, Ont. revealed that teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty, suffer from poorer mental health, and use drugs more frequently. All these factors shape how teen mothers access and utilize perinatal services.

However, nurses and doulas also report disrespectful care and alleged mistreatment in childbirth, which can re-traumatize pregnant adolescents with potential histories of trauma who are experiencing violence. Access can be even more difficult for some; for example rural adolescent mothers find it especially difficult to access resources, with  one study highlighting negative stereotypes among these young mothers. Another study reported stigma and social isolation.

Integrating TVIC strategies in perinatal and other adolescent services will ensure physical, emotional and cultural safety and respectful, compassionate care to the benefit of young mothers, staff and entire organizations.

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