Please Help Out With The Sikh American Family SurveyAVNEET KAUR
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do research with Sikh Family Center (‘SFC’) through the Tufts Summer Scholars program.
As a Sikh American woman interested in public health, I have always wanted to do work that I could relate to my own community and the people I love, and that’s exactly what I had the chance to do.
When I first heard about SFC, I didn’t know much about them, but I was incredibly excited to read about their bilingual support helpline, about their culturally specific health awareness camps, and about their work on addressing domestic violence.
I had read about initiatives like these for South Asians and even done research before on their prevalence and effectiveness, but had never seen specific resources created for Sikh Americans.
After speaking on the phone to one of the board members in early 2016, we both determined that the best way I could increase SFC’s capacity was by helping them with the next phase of their Needs Assessment survey – an initiative that supported their belief in asking the community what it needs and then working to provide it.
About 500 Sikh Americans had previously completed this anonymous 25-question paper-pencil survey in person. The topics covered included demographic questions in addition to questions about respondents’ environment, available resources, and interpersonal violence.
Working with my university resources through the summer scholars program, and with the help of an advisor from the Tufts community health department, I created a proposal to work with SFC on analyzing the survey results and helping develop an online version of this survey.
Working on this project was unlike any research I had done before. Suddenly the numbers became personal, the statistics became less distant, and the urgency became real. I found myself upset at the utter lack of prior research on health issues in the Sikh American community.
To give some perspective, on PubMed, a common medical database, if you search “Asian American health” you will get 7,644 results. If you search “Sikh American health,” you will get 6.
[The term ‘Asian’ is of no help because it bundles together people of a number of different ethnicities originating from scores of different countries and cultures.]
After analyzing the survey itself, I couldn’t brush off the 23.9% of respondents who knew people who had experienced domestic violence – instead I thought of my own friends and family and the community I had grown up in, and questioned what struggles they might be experiencing behind closed doors.
I couldn’t separate myself from the 14.1% of respondents who had children who experienced bullying – instead, I thought of my cousins and my siblings and the students who went to the Khalsa School in my hometown and wondered if any of them were part of that statistic.
To this end, I’m so happy that we were able to progress after analyzing the results to creating a new version of the survey that is Online. This survey is more comprehensive, with questions from the previous survey in addition to new questions on equally important topics like mental health, sexuality, reproductive health, and disabilities. Also, it enhances the sense of privacy, as folks fill it out from the comfort of their homes.
In addition, since it is online, we have the potential to get respondents from all over the country so that the results are more representative.
This survey is nothing short of groundbreaking.
As a community, we lack a strong database to help us see what issues we are experiencing and that need to be addressed, and this survey is a huge step towards establishing that resource. We need numbers and statistics to see what research needs to be done, what resources we need to provide, and what initiatives we need to lead.
If you are 18 or above and identify as Sikh American, I would urge you to fill out this anonymous survey as soon as possible and to share it with your friends and family: it is also available in Punjabi, so encourage those who may not be as comfortable filling it out in English only.
Knowledge is power, and the more respondents we have, the better informed we can be as a community.
Please CLICK here to access the Survey:
December 28, 2016