January 27, 2022 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Dr. Bharati Sethi, Associate Professor of King’s School of Social Work, was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant for “Forgotten Youth and Photovoice: Using Visual Methodology to Give Voice to Muslim Siblings of Children with Disabilities.” Dr. Sethi is collaborating with Dr. Mohammed Baobaid, the Executive Director of the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration (MRCSSI), on this project.

The grant is in the amount of $149,716. This will be the first CIHR grant that King’s will hold on its own. Previously, King’s faculty had to hold CIHR funds through Western University.

“It is great to see such important work recognized by CIHR and to know that King’s continues to be a key partner for community organizations in London. This project speaks to the great work that King’s researchers conduct to mobilize their expertise and resources to promote the voice and well-being of those who face marginalization in our society,” says Dr. Trevor Bieber, King’s Research Facilitator.

This is also the first CIHR grant that Dr. Sethi will work on as a Principal Investigator and she says she is “so excited that King’s can apply for CIHR independent of Western.” She admits she was originally not familiar with the topic or population. “I worked long hours to get this application completed. It would not have been possible without Dr. Bieber’s knowledge, expertise, and assistance,” says Dr Sethi.

Dr. Sethi has had a long partnership with the MRCSSI. Dr. Baobaid saw that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a reduction in face-to-face home visits for issues such as parental mental health, family violence, etc., among Muslim families with children with disabilities.

“Understandably, parents focused their attention on their disabled children. Thus, the needs of children without disabilities from these families were not being met,” says Dr. Sethi.

“Forgotten Youth and Photovoice: Using Visual Methodology to Give Voice to Muslim Siblings of Children with Disabilities” will examine the impact of COVID-19 and associated public health restrictions on the mental and psychological health of Muslim immigrant youth who are siblings of children with disabilities. The study will identify and make available innovative strategies and best practices to foster positive mental health and well-being of these youth.

Dr. Baobaid says the project will be valuable to the MRCSSI, providing an opportunity to have an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the lived experiences of these youth and the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and restriction on their psychosocial health.

Dr. Sethi explains that the project addressed the first objective of a special/targeted call for proposals by the CIHR for Operating Grant: Understanding and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, youth and families in Canada: to enhance understanding of the nature and breadth of the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on children, youth and families, including factors that are protective or exacerbate these impacts.

The collaboration between Dr. Sethi and Dr. Baobaid will help strengthen the community partnership with the MRCSSI. It will also highlight the importance of community-engaged research. The knowledge gained from the research will help educate social workers, practitioners, and those working with youth about issues impacting this population. The project “was ideal to use the funds to research the lived experiences of these youth from their perspective,” says Dr. Sethi.

“COVID-19 has created unique and increased challenges for Muslim immigrant families with special-needs children and their siblings. The agency can develop evidence-based innovative strategies and recommendations for programs within. We are looking forward to working with our partners in Kitchener/Waterloo to collaborate with Dr. Sethi conducting this project and utilizing its outcome,” says Dr. Baobaid.