Within the university institute’s mission, SHERPA has developed a research and training program oriented towards “primary healthcare and social services in a multi-ethnic context”.

The 2014-2019 program, “Health, Social Intervention, and Immigration: from Global Transformation to Local Adaptation”, examines two turning points: the transformation wrought by globalization and security discourses in paradigms structuring the field of immigration; and the development of questions about the adaptation of services in a field that relies on standardization of practices.

The studies seek to understand the problems migrants encounter in accessing healthcare and social services in Quebec, in order to respond with innovative practices. To adapt to evolutions of local situations linked to changes in migration, this central goal is pursued along three specific axes::


1. Globalization and Immigration: Understand to Act differently
  • Document the way that new migration dynamics and the transformation of forms of exclusion reconfigure factors of vulnerability and protection of immigrants;
  • Document, in a comparative way, social intervention and healthcare practices and policies in different national contexts to provide perspective on Quebec’s own practices;
  • Develop and evaluate intersectional actions to minimize sources of vulnerability and help empower immigrant and refugee communities.
2. Cultural Adaptation of Primary Healthcare and Social Service Practices
  • Suggest practices adapted to immigrant and refugee families and individuals which take into account both the data and the limits of its generalization across these populations;
  • Develop and evaluate cutting-edge practices facilitating the alliance, communication and accessibility of primary services for immigrant and refugee clientele;
  • Develop and evaluate cutting-edge practices to improve health and social adaptation of immigrant and refugee children, youth and families.
3.Develop Practices of Evaluation and Ethics appropriate to a Multi-Ethnic Context
  • Develop and implement an institutional policy and strategy for evaluations, which can guide the implementation of evaluations sensitive to context and culture;
  • Carry out systematic literature reviews to inform administrative and clinical decision-making in multi-ethnic, primary healthcare and social services;
  • Establish an evaluation consultation team to provide methodological support to CIUSSS practitioners and researchers and other teams working with multi-ethnic populations;
  • Develop ethical thought around issues of cultural and migration diversity in clinical practice and in research in multi-ethnic settings of primary care.