7th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health

Conference Theme: Occupational and Environmental Health: At the Crossroads of Migrations, Empires and Social Movements

Reposted from: https://icohhistory2020.ukzn.ac.za/

Held under the auspices of the ICOH Scientific Committee, History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases, the planning for the ICOH History Conference for 2020 has already begun in earnest! Scheduled for 27-29 May 2020 in Durban, South Africa, we are planning for an exciting event, for the first time on the African continent

The scientific programme will focus on the migration of workers in various time periods, the interconnections of empires, public health in post-colonial periods, and the role of trade unions and other social movements in occupational and environmental health. The evolution of occupational and environmental health especially in Africa, as well as globally, will be addressed.

The conference is intended to promote interconnections among historians, social scientists and occupational and environmental practitioners/researchers. Leading historians in occupational and environmental health have been invited to give keynote lectures. In addition, there will be an open call for abstracts for oral and poster presentations and a pre-conference methods training workshop.

All conference and programme updates, registration process, fees and the submission of abstracts information will be available at the conference website at icohhistory2020.ukzn.ac.za.

President’s Excellence Chair in Global Migration

Reposted from: https://politics.ubc.ca/presidents-excellence-chair-in-global-migration/

The Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver Campus, invites applications for a President’s Excellence Chair in Global Migration, a full-time tenured appointment at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor with anticipated start date of July 1, 2020. The chair will be provided with research funds and have a reduced teaching load for a seven-year term, which can be renewed* for an additional 7 year term. For more information on the President’s Excellence Chairs at UBC please visit: ubc.ca/excellence. We are seeking a senior scholar with expertise in Global Migration and the ability to build on growing momentum in this area at UBC and provide intellectual and institutional leadership. The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. and be an outstanding researcher whose scholarship has made a significant international impact; have a strong record of attracting and supervising graduate students; have demonstrated excellence in teaching all levels of students; and be pursuing an original and productive research program in Global Migration.

The candidate will teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Political Science, as well as supervise undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, and contribute to service at the departmental level and beyond. Migration is an interdisciplinary research excellence cluster at UBC, and the successful candidate will be expected to participate in and contribute to the growth of this cluster. There also is the possibility of teaching in and contributing to other cognate units, including the possibility of a cross-appointment.

Applicants should submit a cover letter that includes a statement of major research contributions and current and future research programs, a curriculum vitae, a brief statement (1-2 pages) of teaching philosophy, interests and accomplishments, evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., teaching evaluations, sample syllabi), a 1 page statement about experience working with a diverse student body and contributions or potential contributions to creating/advancing a culture of equity and inclusion, and names and addresses (e-mail addresses included) of four referees. Applications should be submitted online at https://poli.air.arts.ubc.ca/presidents-excellence-chair-in-global-migration-application-form/ Job ID: 35313. Review of applications will begin on October 19, 2019. Applications received by that date are assured of full review, though applications will be considered until the position is filled.

UBC embraces equity and diversity as integral to our academic mission. We encourage and support participation of the widest range of perspectives in our exploration and exchange of knowledge and ideas. An essential component of academic excellence is a truly open and diverse community that actively fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or excluded. We encourage applications from members of groups that have historically been marginalized, based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, racialization, disability, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit or indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

*The name of the renewed Chair is subject to change

Call for papers: Special Issue “Community-Based Global Mental Health for Refugees and other Migrants”

Reposted from: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph/special_issues/community-based_global_mental_health_refugees_migrants

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section “Global Health“.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Kevin Pottie Website E-Mail
(1) C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa ON K1R 6M1, Canada;
(2) Department of Family Medicine, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Interests: health inequities for vulnerable populations; primary care access and guidelines for immigrants and refugees; community based research; infectious diseases and NCD in migrant populations
Guest Editor
Dr. Olivia Magwood Website E-Mail
Research Associate, C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa ON,Canada
Interests: Refugee and migrant health, Community participation in health, Maternal and child health, Mental health, Primary health care, Public health
Guest Editor
Dr. Azaad Kassam Website E-Mail
Psychiatrist, Queensway Carleton Hospital, 3045 Baseline Road, Nepean, ON, K2H 8P4, Canada

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global health prioritizes the science of the burden of disease; its driving philosophy is equity, i.e., justice and fairness in the distribution of health in society, and its scope is global. Global mental health is the application of these principles to the domain of mental illness and suffering. Although most migrants are remarkably resilient, forced migration is associated with trauma, physical violence, and lack of basic resources. Exposure to stressors after resettlement, such as poverty and limited social support, also impacts on mental illness. Common mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are often more prevalent among refugee populations of all ages compared to the general population.

There is a critical need for more research on timely community-based mental health services for refugees and other migrants. Community-based programs are often more acceptable and accessible to migrant families. These services provide interdisciplinary care that may extend into primary health care. What are the best approaches to deliver community-based services for migrants? How can primary care collaborate with mental health specialists and community-based support systems? What form of training programs and supervision are warranted? How can trans-national influences on mental health, such as migration, conflict, and disasters, be integrated into community-based care? 

This Special Issue seeks papers providing insights into how global and community mental health can be enhanced for refugees and other migrants, in both clinical and non-clinical settings. We welcome papers that examine naturally occurring processes or utilize experimental approaches, as well as high-quality theoretical or systematic reviews. We hope that this Special Issue will present a collection of findings useful to improve community-based mental health care for refugees and other migrants.

Prof. Kevin Pottie
Dr. Olivia Magwood
Dr. Azaad Kassam
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Global mental health
  • Refugee and migrant health
  • Community mental health
  • Implementation science
  • Trauma
  • Primary Health Care
  • Health equity

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

Migration and health in Southern Africa: regional symposium report

Regional Symposium on Gender, Migration, Health and Public Policy & South African Launch of the UCL-Lancet Commission Report on Migration and Health

This report captures a two-day programme of presentations, panel discussions and group discussions at the regional symposium on gender, migration, health and public policy. The aim of day one was to discuss a number of migration-related topics including: health and universal health care (UHC) in Southern Africa, researching migration and health, associated ethical and methodological challenges, and reflecting on the politics and practice of migration and health research. Day one also included the launch of the UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health in South Africa.

Day 2 of the symposium focussed on ‘Gender, Migration, Health and Public Policy: Improving gendered responses to migration and health across the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’. The aim was to present feedback from a research report on gender, migration and health and to develop a joint plan of action amongst stakeholders and participants for improving gendered responses to migration and health in SADC.

[originally published by Sonke Gender Justice]

South Africa, Migration, Gender and Health — Closing Notes of a Pakistani Researcher

MHADRI member Dr Roomi Aziz reflects on her participation in a week’s worth of migration and health events, co-hosted by MHADRI, that took place at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg at the end of July 2019. This post was originally published here.

Just got some time to review and recap the last week of July 2019, which was everything Gender and Migration and South Africa, beginning with a research workshop, having the privilege of being on an all-female panel on decolonizing global migration and health research, weaving a high level policy dialogue, closing with the UCL-Lancet Commission Launch of report on Migration and Health, and a symposium on gender, migration, health and public policy at the dynamic University of the Witwatersrand and the African Centre for Migration & Society.

We also went through some existential questions, of what does it even mean to be a migrant? What does health access imply? Especially since health often gets short-handed for the biomedical healthcare system, and this understanding is one of the many structural determinants leading to health inequities. For example, health insurance is not universal health coverage, but one of the many factors contributing to it. At the end of it, what stayed with me was the birth-right of a human, to live a meaningful life, and create a home.

Just want to record my five key Points-to-Ponder from the week, one for each day:

P1 | CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE: It is important to step outside the box we live and operate in, to understand and grasp a broader, ‘helicopter’ vantage point of the situation and the context. Unlearn. Couldn’t be more truer for migration and health, and their bidirectional journey. There was a lot of discussion on the need to look at both systems response and global governance, and be conscious of the rhetoric of migrants’ health. Current public health policies do not engage with migration or mobility of populations, which raised some pertinent questions, on whether the local conversations are reflective of global realities? And about the drivers of policy-making? Is it fear or rights-based approach? Then again, as long as health is discussed in humanitarian paradigm where migration is discussed in securitization paradigm, challenges will continue to grow. We must remember Ellis Island. Exceptionalism in policy frameworks can further hurt a cause. #Mobility is the new normal. It is time that we accept it. We also need to know what we do not know, to truly understand and learn. It is important that we acknowledge the lack of evidence, rather than pretending that we have all the answers/ solutions. We need more data, better data to feed into politics and decisions, and understand the issue enough to take action.

P2 | WHO HOLDS THE POWER: Are we aware of what the rights-based arguments may drive away, and what are the most effective ways to make our case on policy tables? We have limited orientation as to who holds the power in the global discourse. Who has the loudest voice and who is determining the global or the national agenda? While we are continuously dealing with complexities, we must find levers of change within the system that are on our side, and learn to influence them. We must also not forget the key role of national treasury, which can make or break our comprehensive action plans. We religiously talk of evidence-informed decision making, when we also need to remember that sometimes this evidence is not politically correct, and sometimes lack of evidence is desirable for scape-goat-ing. More importantly, how do we make sure that the research generated is responding to the evidence need and who needs it. In either case, we need to be cognizant of our complicity and role in this system of control, and our responsibility towards challenging the global narrative.

P3 | AFFILIATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: We are very trigger-happy when it comes to the use of adjectives like ‘vulnerable’ and ‘marginalized’, but are we aware of the implications that assignment of such adjectives has? We speak of biometrics and blockchain, without realizing the cost to personal security and implications for non-nationals as well as nationals. These discussions are critical today, when we are still grappling with the idea of profiling people on the basis of their looks, professions, languages, socio-economic status, beliefs and nationalities.

P4 | STAYING AWARE: By virtue of things beyond our control, like the country we were born in, the family we were born into, the skin color we inherited, we hold unequal power and privilege. It is critical that we do not centralize our agenda or usurp the central stage and remember the ‘invisible’. That is the crux of the bone of contention we have with Eurocentric understanding of migration and health and inequalities vis-à-vis Global South being reinstated. This goes back to the ‘changing the perspective’ point, where we must endeavor to visibilize the invisible, profile them to understand what can be done for them, since they cannot be passive actors in the society, lest they are left behind. We must remain acutely aware of the danger of propagating a single narrative, recognize the associated complexities and contestations associated with it.

P5 | CREATE OPPORTUNITIES: Not always there is a demand and supply match. Sometimes one must push and manipulate situations and strategize for interest. There are important advocacy windows all around us. There is a need to identify these strategic windows, the sticking points, and realize the power of our personal networks, to push forward our agendas. There is no time to wait for tailor-made opportunities.

A week of migration & health in Joburg: Where are we? Where do we go?

MHADRI member and doctoral candidate, Thea de Gruchy, reflects on a week of activities, co-hosted by MHADRI – that were held at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in early August. This article was originally published on the International Health Policies Network (IHP Network) website on 6th August: ‘A week of migration & health in Joburg: Where are we? Where do we go?

Last week, the Lancet Commission on Migration and Health’s Report – The health of a world on the move – was formerly launched in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Using the attention drawn by this event, the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), alongside colleagues in Demography and Public Health, held a series of events for those of us working on migration and health in the region – to come together, reflect on current realities, and think about the way forward.

As such, a two-day Early Career Researcher workshop for postgraduate students working in and around the field of migration and health; a Wits, UCL, UCL-Commission, and Chatham House convened roundtable looking specifically at realizing UHC in this context; a public symposium and the South African launch of the Report; and a regional symposium on gender, migration, health and public policy were all held in Joburg between 29 July – 2 August.

Migration & health in South & southern Africa

Reflecting global trends, issues of migration and health, including whether cross-border nationals should have access to health care in host countries, are incredibly contentious in South and southern Africa. Although countries across both the global North and South have committed to implementing and realizing Universal Health Coverage (UHC), many are reticent to include cross-border migrant populations in their plans. Which, as I have argued in an IHP blog post before, will undermine attempts to realize UHC and meet other global health targets, including UNAIDS 90:90:90.

To give you a broad sense of the migration and health landscape in the region, there are four things worth highlighting.

  1. The region is associated with mixed migration flows and as such sees the movement of refugees, asylum seekers, and those looking for work across borders, as well as the movement of a far greater number of people internally, within national borders;
  2. Health systems across the region are overburdened and under-resourced, and access to social determinants that could positively impact health, for example decent housing, formal education, well-paid work, and running water, is limited for both nationals and non-nationals;
  3. Current public health responses are not migration-aware or mobility-competent. In other words, health systems don’t acknowledge and engage with the reality that people move both within and across borders, with implications for continuity of care and communicable disease control; and, finally,
  4. South Africa, a key country to which many within the region migrate, is particularly hostile towards non-nationals. Not only does the state approach migration as an issue of security, but frequent outbursts of xenophobic violence occur across the country. In fact, on Thursday during the launch of the Commission’s report, a few kilometers away in the Johannesburg Central Business District, police raided foreign owned businesses and met resistance to these raids with rubber bullets and accusations of having been attacked by non-nationals.

Key conversations & themes

Within this context, across all four of the events last week three key themes emerged.

The first, which I believe will surprise no frequent reader of this blog, is that the development and implementation of schemes in the name of UHC, in the South African case the National Health Insurance (NHI), do not necessarily mean that UHC will be realized. The exclusion of non-nationals from the NHI is a clear example of this in South Africa. Rather than being a comprehensive system of coverage, the NHI threatens to be one in which a select package is offered to select categories of people.

The second theme was around the increasing securitization of health as a consequence of concerns about migration. The use of healthcare service providers and healthcare facilities as immigration control needs to be guarded against. While communicable disease control and monitoring remain important, these efforts will in fact be undermined if the accessibility of healthcare to non-nationals is further limited and if non-nationals actively avoid healthcare facilities over fears of arrest and deportation.

The third emergent theme was that a rights-based argument for ensuring that non-nationals have equitable access to healthcare does not seem to be working in South Africa, or globally for that matter. Alternatives have been suggested, a global public goods approach that argues that limiting the access to healthcare and wellbeing for non-nationals will ultimately undermine the health and wellbeing of nationals, for example. Increasingly efforts have also been made to recognise the economic benefit that migration and migrants have for their host communities. Whether such arguments will work where the rights-based argument has failed and whether it is desirable to be making these kinds of arguments is however up for debate.

Ways forward and one caveat

Given the particularly depressing nature of these conversations, important questions were asked about the way forward. An obvious point of departure for those of us in South Africa is the need to work to improve the NHI prior to its roll out and once it has been implemented; to ensure that UHC is realized through the scheme, and that key populations are not left behind.

In addition, improved responses are needed for key populations that have traditionally been left behind by the healthcare system, as well as ignored by researchers. Although, as Loren Landau argued, a key example of the latter are in fact policy makers. Researching migration does not simply mean researching migrants and their lived experiences, but also the mechanisms for governing migration and the people who are involved in their development and implementation.

Here, the potential for bibliometrics to illuminate gaps in our research and knowledge, and as such, direct future research emerges. As we know, while most migration happens within the global South, most of the research and literature on migration has been focused on, or at least written, in the global North.

However, while there is a tendency to lament the fact that we need more data, a key tension emerges between the fact that there is this need, but that the data that is already available is often used nefariously and to further anti-migration mechanisms. Making invisible populations visible, quantifying and qualifying migrants, opening up the black box around the mechanisms that migrants use to circumnavigate increasingly restrictive bureaucratic structures may not be in the best interests of those who migrate, and may simply be strengthening the hand of those who are trying to put a stop to migration.

Not a particularly positive note on which to end things, but, given the state of the world, fairly inevitable. As researchers and practitioners, the need to be rigorous and rigorously ethical – to ensure confidentiality and anonymity; to push back against entities that seek to fund work that would improve their efforts at securitization; and to improve research collaborations and partnerships so that research produced reflects local realities rather than a global agenda – in our work has never been more imperative.

Participants during the public symposium

[This article was originally published on the International Health Policies Network (IHP Network) website on 6th August: ‘A week of migration & health in Joburg: Where are we? Where do we go?‘, and the images are courtesy of MoVE ( method:visual:explore)