Cross-Cultural Approaches for Health and Wellness Lab

Cross Cultural

Lead Investigator Dr. Susana Caxaj

At the Cross-Cultural Approaches for Health and Wellness (CAHW) lab, we work to develop community-based solutions that build on local cultural knowledge to improve the health and wellness of diverse peoples. Whether through partnerships with First Nations leaders to develop palliative approaches to health service delivery, inclusive programming for immigrant groups, student-led initiatives to address discrimination and promote wellness, or participatory action research approaches in Guatemala, CAWH is all about differences. Why? Because we believe that culturally diverse communities are stronger communities, and that centreing culture in health programming is key to ensuring its safety and relevance to clients.

Examples of our current work include a study of temporary migrant agricultural workers’ support systems to identify strategies to address isolation; the piloting of a community-based intervention to help build a sense of belonging among an Indian-Canadian diaspora; and planning with First Nations leaders to explore the potential of research to grow capacity for volunteer palliative local First Nations volunteers.


  • Barb Pesut (Nursing, UBC Okanagan)
  • Bonar Buffam (Sociology, UBC Okanagan)
  • Ilya Parkins (Gender and Women’s Studies, UBC Okanagan)
  • Patricia Tomic (Sociology, UBC Okanagan)
  • Ruthann Lee (Cultural Studies, UBC Okanagan)
  • Shirley Chau (Social Work, UBC Okanagan)
  • Mary Lou Kelly (Lakehead University)
  • Equity and Inclusion Office (UBC Okanagan)
  • Aboriginal Programs and Services (UBC Okanagan)
  • Amy Cohen, Professor (Okanagan College)
  • First Nations Health Authority
  • Holly Prince, Research Coordinator (Lakehead University)
  • Interior Health, Aboriginal Health Team
  • Kolol Qnan Tx’otx’ (Guatemala)
  • Lower Similkameen Services Society
  • Okanagan Regional Library (Keremeos Branch and Central)
  • Okanagan-Similkameen Healthy Living Society
  • Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (Okanagan Valley)
  • Scw’exmx Community Health Services Society
  • South Okanagan Immigrant Community Services Society
  • Village of Keremeos

Current students:

  • Michelle Haywood-Farmer, MSW thesis student
  • Suzanne Johnson, IGS master’s thesis student

Project websites: