New wellness program supports better health outcomes for the South Asian community

20/11/2015 11:15:17 AM | 0 comments |
Surrey, B.C. – South Asian community members now have better access to health information through a new program delivered at local temples to raise awareness about common health concerns and actions people can take to stay healthy.  
The Sehat Wellness Ambassador program, under the banner of Fraser Health’s South Asian Health Institute, will begin at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Gurdwara Sahib Brookside and Laxmi Narayan Mandir temples in Surrey as well as Burnaby’s Hindu temple. Sehat means health in a number of South Asian languages, including Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. There are plans to expand to other communities within the health authority over the next year.
Wellness Ambassadors are volunteers trained by the Fraser Health’s public health team to provide information about ways to stay healthy. They also encourage community members to take actions that will help prevent illness and chronic disease, such as getting their blood pressure checked, undergoing cancer screenings or getting the flu shot annually. 
By partnering with temples, community members will receive health information and support within the community, making prevention services more readily available.  
Fraser Health has the third largest South Asian population in Canada, with over 240,000 South Asian people living in the area.
Research shows that people of South Asian descent have a greater risk of developing chronic diseases, and are four times more likely to experience heart disease and diabetes due to a combination of factors including family history and lifestyle. These health issues place a significant burden and stress on individuals and families, the community and the health system.

About South Asian Health Institute 

South Asian Health Institute was formed to foster better understanding and improved health and health outcomes for the South Asian population in a culturally appropriate way through evidence-based care that support patients and health care providers in managing chronic conditions. Through partnerships and prevention education activities, Fraser Health aims to support South Asian people in making healthier decisions that will improve their health and quality of life.


Health Minister Terry Lake
“This innovative program will benefit members of the South Asian community in Burnaby and Surrey and is a great example of how we are working to tailor health care services to ensure they meet the needs of all patients. Having easier access to culturally appropriate health information will help residents in improving their health.” 
Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk
“I’m aware of the risks chronic disease poses to those in the South Asian community, and in fact personally know of those who are affected by these illnesses. The wellness ambassador program will support family and friends in making decisions that will improve their health and quality of life.”
Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Stephanie Cadieux
“Raising awareness about chronic health concerns and encouraging the community to take action is vital, as it could save a loved one’s life, and that’s what makes today’s announcement so critical for Surrey families.”
Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender
“Whether it’s having a healthier diet, being more active, or talking to a health care professional, there are many easy steps that can be taken to prevent chronic disease. The partnership between Fraser Health and local temples will support South Asian families in making these lifestyle choices.”
Surrey-Panorama MLA Marvin Hunt
“The leadership group of our Surrey temples along with Fraser Health should be congratulated for this innovative approach to care and I encourage those families going to temple for worship to stop and talk to a volunteer about their health.”
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg
“I applaud our local temples and Fraser Health for collaborating to improve the health of the South Asian community. Wellness Ambassadors will raise awareness about the      services available to support local residents and help make a positive difference in many lives.”  
Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee
“It’s great to see this program in Burnaby and I know local families will be engaging with Wellness Ambassadors to ensure they are leading healthy lifestyles.”  
Dr. Victoria Lee, chief medical health officer and vice president, Population and Public Health, Fraser Health
"We know that approaching people in their own community is an effective way to promote good health. The support of temple and community leaders is critical and allows us to use innovative strategies to address the burden of preventable diseases."
Rajinder Singh Dhaliwal, head of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, the oldest gurdwara in Surrey 
“We are pleased with this partnership as our community members will benefit from the   important health information and discussions that will take place in our temple. We hope that our community will learn about common health issues and actions they can take to stay healthy.”


Approaching people in their own community is an effective way to promote good health

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