Evaluating the feasibility of a group psychosocial intervention for migrant and host community women in Ecuador and Panamá: A multi-site feasibility cluster trial

Gabrielle Wimer

Name: Gabrielle Wimer
School: Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Class of 2025, Varmus Global Scholar 2022
Mentor: Claire Greene, PhD, MPH

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By 2021, over 80 million people were forcibly displaced. Displaced populations face an increased risk of mental health and psychosocial problems but there is a lack of evidence on effective and scalable MHPSS programs in humanitarian settings. This research took place in the context of the evaluation of an innovative, community-based psychosocial program for migrant and host community women, Entre Nosotras, vs. Entre Nosotras + stress management which was implemented with the INGO HIAS in Ecuador in Panama in 2021. What was the feasibility, appropriateness, and impact of this intervention for women based on different demographics such as migratory status? Demographic data was collected from HIAS, data on psychosocial well-being was collected via pre/post surveys, and qualitative interviews were conducted with a subset of participants and facilitators. All quantitative analysis was conducted in STATA and qualitative analysis was done in NVivo. Attendance was higher for host community members (OR 95% CI 1.20, 6.79) than migrants, and for those who had lived in their community longer than 3 years (OR 95% CI 1.14, 4.69). No other demographic variables significantly impacted attendance. Trajectories in well-being were impacted by study site but not country of origin. These results underscore how the migratory context influences the implementation of MHPSS programs. As humanitarian guidelines continue to emphasize the integration of host community members and displaced persons, it is critical to account for barriers that disproportionately affect migrants such as lack of resources and stable employment. Qualitative data analysis is ongoing to further elucidate these barriers.