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Dr. Sara Pavan

Community Partner

Sara Pavan is currently a Specialist in Program Design and Evaluation at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre. Prior to that, she was a Killam Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science and the Institute of European Studies at UBC. 

Sara specializes in mixed-methods approach to researching and evaluating publicly funded programs that target minority or vulnerable populations. Some of Sara’s ongoing projects include:

  • Engage in Metro Vancouver: this is a one-year research project in collaboration with immigrant serving agency SUCCESS. The project, funded by the Vancouver Foundation under the Develop framework, encompasses over 30 in depth interviews with immigrants and newcomers to Canada, immigrant community organizers and politicians of immigrant background. Through life histories and semi-structured interviews, we examine the mental maps and narratives that immigrants to Canada build to learn about politics, become engaged in civic and political activities, assess the quality and trustworthiness of Canadian institutions, and decide to run for office. The goal of the project is to develop ideas for community, systems-level and policy interventions that will help deepen the civic and political engagement of immigrants to Canada. Preliminary findings have been presented at a Community Forum on October 10th 2019, and to the Tri-Cities Local Immigration Partnership in Coquitlam on October 19th, 2019.

  • EAL (English as an Additional Language) Training and immigrants’ political attitudes:  this is a project in collaboration with Prof. Eline deRooij (SFU, Political Science) and immigrant-serving agency SUCCESS. Through interviews with English language instructors and focus groups with English language students, we examine the ways in which LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) programs (that, is government-funded English language courses provided by settlement agencies and school boards across Canada) affect immigrants’ political efficacy (i.e., their belief in their capacity to make informed political decision and be able to affect democratic decision-making) and their trust in Canadian institutions.

  • Successful research-community partnerships: case studies: this is a work-in-progress in collaboration with Prof. Nancy Clark (UVic, Nursing). We develop a framework for effective transdisciplinary scholarship that crosses the boundaries between practice, public health, and public policy research. Based on two case studies on collaboration, we provide strategies for mitigating challenges that arise when working across academic and community-based organizations, and describe how reflexivity in research can promote the well-being of marginalized communities.  

  • In collaboration with Amy Cheng, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Integration at SUCCESS, we have also co-developed a training module for culturally sensitive and respectful collaborative research with minorities and vulnerable communities.