United Women East African Support Team (UWEAST)
The IPH has a long history of working with San Diego's refugee and immigrant communities including East African, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific Islander. For several years now, IPH has provided on-going support for a number of programs initiated by the United Women East African Support Team (UWEAST). One of the latest projects involved developing and implementing a program focusing on mental health in the East African community. In year one, a community needs assessment was conducted. In year two, a community education program and other interrelated programs were designed, advised by the results of the needs assessment, and implemented to foster emotional wellbeing among East African women. IPH's role was to provide technical assistance to UWEAST staff on instrument development, interviewing skills, data analysis, program development, and evaluation.
The IPH, in collaboration with UCSD Community Pediatrics, also assisted UWEAST with the evaluation of a unique Swimming Program for Muslim women at the Copley YMCA in City Heights. IPH developed interview protocols and analyzed interview data to assess the impact the program has on its participants. UCSD conducted interviews with 18 participants, 1 community member, 3 YMCA staff, and 2 KPBS staff. For program participants, benefits of the program included learning how to swim, feeling better, feeling stronger, sleeping better, relaxation, making friends, pain reduction, increasing physical activity, a closer community, and having a place to swim where there are no men. Challenges reported by participants included feeling disrespected by staff and lifeguards, strict rules related to punctuality, high cost of the class, scheduling conflicts, and cleanliness of the facility. KPBS ran a story entitled "YMCA Offers Women-Only Swim Hours for Muslim Women," which won a first place television award from the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists. However, the story generated a strong reaction on the KPBS website among viewers. One staff member noted "I was pretty shocked to see the hatred and racism that was displayed. Most of all, I was shocked by the misinformation many commenters had about Muslim culture, traditions, and teachings." Based on the community reaction, KPBS ran a couple of follow-up stories to address issues raised in the comments.
Last Updated: 03/19/2018