Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health

Organization name: Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health             

Organization’s primary purpose: Networking, Advocacy, Support, Information sharing around immigrant health issues.

Contact name: ALEX PIRIE

List 3 – 5 issues you are working on:

1. Mental Health in immigrant communities – particularly adolescent issues.

2. Improved services and access for low to limited English speakers.

3. Occupational Health and Safety for immigrant workers

4. Nutrition – Obesity/Diabetes

5. Toxic plume (PERC) in East Somerville Neighborhood

Skills/Expertise desired: GIS knowledge and access, technical knowledge (and the ability to communicate to non-scientific audience), anything supporting immigrant youth’s access to and success in science, technology, math, and health sciences careers and/or educational opportunities. New ways of thinking about communications between immigrant community groups and members. Inventive thinking about networking young people through phone/internet systems. Methods for making existing scientific research accessible to immigrant and low income communities – not just access, but finding ways to communicate outside the constraints of disciplinary jargon.

Possible project idea(s)

Idea #1 in a nutshell – Developing an inexpensive and easily implemented method/technology/system for improved communications between youth and adults (as organizers, mentors, resources) and, possibly, for and among adults with language and access barriers.

Key to success? Ability (and time!) to do unfettered thinking about available systems and hardware and how to overcome access to internet and phone service problems (largely, but not always economic).

Potential barrier? Not a particularly research focused problem, at least in terms of determining need. Requires anticipating new technologies and ways of conceptualizing networks so people are not always playing ‘catch up’ with old ideas and outdated equipment – although creative thinking about the adaptation of older equipment is a possibility.


Idea #2 in a nutshell – Creating spaces for young people, particularly from the immigrant and low income communities, to have the opportunity to do experiential science learning. Current test driven school curriculum and the economic necessity for immigrant children to work at low end after school jobs makes it difficult for them to physically experience science activities. Blue Sky? – an entrepreneurial setup that would require simple science based or science like work as part of a money making enterprise and one in which mentors would be part of the work team. Or scientific apprenticeships of some sort.

Key to success? Ability to think outside of traditional work/job models, inventive thinking about market opportunities.

Potential barrier? Social inertia, class and race stereotyping that causes a lack of faith in young people’s abilities, and the social pressures to conform to test driven educational processes.