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Research to action: Addressing gaps in policy, knowledge and implementation

December 13-14, 2018
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston Texas

School of Health Professionals / School of Nursing (SHP / SON) - Room 1.304

CME Credit

The question of migration

The world is witnessing an unprecedented increase in human mobility with more than one billion people around the world (one out of every seven) categorized as in-country displaced or international migrants.[1-3] Currently, 48 percent of international migrants are women [2], 72 percent are of working age [4], and 15 percent are less than 20 years old.[2] The majority of international migrants (71 percent) emigrate from South and Central America.[5] Between 1990 and 2013, a remarkable increase in migration occurred in the Americas with the immigrant population increasing by 78 percent from 34 million to 61 million. This increase in migration throughout the Americas is more than double the increase observed in other parts of the world during the same timeframe. The U.S. was the destination of choice for the majority of these immigrants, with nearly 46 million[6] settling in the U.S. in 2013.

The dramatic and uncontrollable increase in human mobility has affected all countries, either as their status as a country of origin, transit country, or country of destination. The increase in human mobility and its impact on all countries globally has changed the world’s perception of migration and resulted in the wide adoption of migration and human mobility as a result of the current development paradigm. This made migration on the top list of priorities on any international developemt agenda and created demand for different approach between the South and the North or what is called “Paradox of the Migration-Development Nexus”.[7]

A wide range of factors determines migrants’ health status and access to health care services. These include immigration policies, health policies, health financing models and the organization of the local health care system, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics (age, gender, place of residence, educational level, employment status and conditions, income / financial affordability), social environment (social isolation / networking), and socio-cognitive and cultural factors (health literacy, language, healthcare seeking behavior).[8,9]

Accordingly, improving the health of migrants and their access to health care services requires multi-level action at individual, community, institutional, and societal/policy levels. These sets of interventions should consider the variations among regions and countries in terms of political climate, social protection models, organization, and the financing model of the national health care system. The current document proposes a work plan for the development of a report that identifies and motivates solutions to address the question of the health of migrants (including the internally displaced and refugees).


Objectives and themes of the conference

The annual conference on the health of migrants is designed to provide a platform for a constructive policy dialogue among relevant stakeholders. Those include immigrants and organizations representing migrants, law and policy makers, government leaders, health care professionals, the faith community, health system administrators, academicians, researchers, community-based service providers, and international and multi-lateral organization representatives. The second annual conference in October of 2018 will focus on identifying effective strategies to address gaps related to:

  • Legislation and policies that impact health, lives, and livelihood of migrants;
  • Implementation to enhance access to, and utilization, of quality and culturally-appropriate health; and
  • Researchto identify the health needs of migrants, assess determinants of access to health and social services, and inform effective strategies to overcome the gaps.


  1. International Organization of Migration, World Migration Report 2015 - Migrants and Cities: New Partnerships to Manage Mobility. 2015: International Organization for Migration.
  2. International Organization of Migration. 2015 Global Migration Trends: Factseet. 2015; Available from: https://publications.iom.int/system/files/global_migration_trends_2015_factsheet.pdf.
  3. Le Mesurier, S. The Phenomenon of Migration: Its Significance or Meaning in Human Societies Throughout History. 2012; Available from: http://www.ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/opinions-and-positions/speeches/2012/test/.
  4. International  Labour Organization (ILO), ILO Global Estimates on Migrant Workers: Results and Methodology - Special Focus on Migrant Domestic Workers.
  5. United Nations, World Popualtion Prospects: Key Findings and Tables. 2015.
  6. Organization of American States, International Migration in the Americas: Third Report of the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI). 2015.
  7. Chetail, V., Paradigm and Paradox of the Migration-Development Nexus: The New Border for North-South Dialogue. German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 52, pp. 183-215, 2008, 2010.
  8. Martinez, O., Wu, E., Sandfort, T., Dodge, B., Carballo-Dieguez, A., Pinto, R., Rhodes, S. D. , Moya, E., and Chavez-Baray, S., Evaluating the Impact of Immigration Policies on Health Status Among Undocumented Immigrants: A Systematic Review. J Immigr Minor Health. 2015 Jun; 17(3): 947–970. , 2015.
  9. Hacker, K., et al., Barriers to Health Care for Undocumented Immigranrs: A Literature Review. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2015; 8: 175–183, 2015.