Migrant and Refugee Health

Council Members

Chair: Sapha Barkati, Canada,
Masatoki Adachi, Japan
Federico Gobbi, Italy
Stefan Hagmann, United States of America
Anita Heywood, Australia, Council member
Godwin T. Igodo, United Kingdom, Council member
Susan Kuhn, Canada

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Mission of the ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group

Welcome to the Migrants and Refugees Health Interest Group page on the ISTM website. We will be updating this page regularly and hope you will visit often. The Interest Group invites all ISTM members who are interested in the travel health of migrant and other mobile populations to join our group. There is no cost to join, and it's easy. Click here to join or for more information.

The focus of the Support Group is to address issues pertaining to travel health influences and implications related to migrants and other mobile populations.

Migrants make up an important group of international travellers (VFR travellers) and are increased risk for several infectious diseases and travel related conditions. This health disparity is due to several factors including; a higher prevalence of infections acquired in their countries of origin, low uptake of pre-travel health advice and preventive interventions, increased risk behavior and exposure during travel and low awareness in health care providers of the health issues of this population or how to best address them. The health encounter with the travel medicine provider, either before or after travel, provides an opportunity to promote the health of this population through updating routine and travel related vaccinations, screening for prevalent diseases and other preventive measures.

The ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group aims to:

  1. Promote and raise awareness among travel medicine providers of the range of health issues in the migrant population (acquired in their countries of origin prior to arrival or during travel).
  2. Develop strategies and tools of how to best address the health issues of the migrant population and encourage using the travel health encounter as an opportunity for health promotion of this population.
  3. Collate written materials addressing the most important health issues of immigrants and VFR travellers and develop new materials as deemed necessary to educate practitioners. Provide access to these documents on the ISTM website.
  4. Promote the development of novel interventions, tools and methods of how to engage the VRF traveller in the pre-travel encounter.
  5. Promote research on important health issues of VFR travellers and other migrants in order to decrease health disparities.

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ISTM Migrant Interest Group Organizational Structure

The ISTM Migrants Interest Group will be governed by a Steering Council elected by its membership. The Steering Council will consist of 7 members, one of which will be Chair, one Chair-Elect and three Council Members. It is anticipated that subcommittees will be formed from within the group members, and the elected council may appoint cooperating members. The Elected Steering Council will need to fine tune the process once elected, including developing policies for vacancy of positions. The Group Chair will report to the ISTM Executive Board.

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Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group Activities

The ISTM Executive Board has created a Special Task Force on Migrants. It is going to be working in conjunction with the Interest Group and is considering further development of programs or projects with the Migrants themed events with support of ISTM Executive Board. As the Interest Group, we hope to provide and bring opportunities for all the interest group members to be involved in the process. Please address any issues or topics, ideas or suggestions to us to make the programs and projects even better as further details unfold!

This year is going to be another exciting year for the Interest Group with many opportunities for projects. We would like to encourage each Interest Group member to be involved in the process and discussions. Health issues relating to migrant and refugee involve immediate health issues to long-term care. Also, health needs of migrants and refugees are not only a global issue but are local issues as well. We are waiting for your support and involvement!