Brenda Poon

Assistant Professor

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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2020)
Associations between community early years program participation and child developmental outcomes: a community-based study (2020)

BACKGROUND: The early environments that children are exposed to can contribute to their development across multiple areas from physical to emotional health. In particular, centre-based programs have been shown to be associated with positive developmental outcomes for children such as improved language, vocabulary, and pre-academic skills. Qualicum, BC provided a unique opportunity to explore this relationship because of its community-wide initiative to track children’s program attendance. The purpose of this study is to examine the Qualicum community case in depth to better understand program use and determine if exposure to community early years programs is associated with developmental outcomes of children by Kindergarten. METHODS: Data were drawn from a linked database containing children’s community early years program attendance (‘Goose Trax’ repository) and developmental outcome data (Early Development Instrument (EDI) database). Of the 1,464 children (0-5 years old) represented in the linked database, 212 participated in community early years programs. Network analysis to explore program attendance ties and regression analyses to determine associations between participation and developmental outcomes were performed. Program participation, dosage of attendance, diversity of attendance, and popularity of attendance (centrality) were studied as potential contributors to developmental outcomes (EDI scores). RESULTS: Network analysis showed how certain programs were central to the structure of program networks, although no pattern emerged that related centrality to EDI scores. Participation in community early years programs was associated with child development overall, which in this context refers to development across 5 different domains (physical, social, emotional, language, and communication), and development in the social and emotional domains. Models accounted for roughly 10% of the variability in EDI scores. Dosage, diversity, and centrality measures were not found to have an association with EDI scores. DISCUSSION: More needs to be understood about the contextual factors surrounding community early years programs and their potential effects on child development. The findings from this study provide some insights into the potential impacts of differential participation in community early years programs on child developmental outcomes at the population level. Further research is needed to support these findings.

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Factors influencing the oral health practices of Chinese immigrant parents for their young children (ages 0-6) in Vancouver and Richmond, BC: parents' and service providers' perspectives (2019)

Background: Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a prevalent chronic condition affecting the health of young children (ages 0-6) worldwide, despite being mostly preventable through the adoption of effective oral health care practices. In both Canada and the United States, immigrant children suffer disproportionately from dental caries as compared to non-immigrant children. Limited research has examined the factors influencing oral health and care of young children from immigrant families in Canada. Objective: This qualitative exploratory study was carried out to examine the multi-level factors influencing the oral health care of young children (ages 0-6) from recent Chinese immigrant families residing in the cities of Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia. Method: Working within a social constructivist paradigm, this study included Chinese immigrant parents (n=15), dental professionals (n=4) and community agency members (n=3) recruited from six different community sites using purposeful sampling. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted until data saturation was reached. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically to develop themes and sub-themes to summarize the findings. Results: Parents generally devoted much effort into establishing and modifying regular oral health care for their children and have improved their knowledge and understandings about oral health following immigration to Canada. Support was provided to parents in both oral health home care and professional dental care from family members, social networks, communities and professional dental care teams. Despite the support received, parents continued to experience major challenges in the areas of lacking translated and consistent oral health care information, lack of/insufficient dental payment assistance programs, and significant language and communication barriers. Conclusion: Given the ongoing challenges experienced by Chinese immigrant families, collaborative effort is needed from all levels of the government, residential and cultural communities and health care organizations to deliver consistent and practical oral health care information using various media platforms targeting immigrant communities, improve dental coverage for lower-to-middle income families, and mobilize resources to provide necessary translation and interpretation services to new immigrant families.

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