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Cultural Contexts of Health: Migration. Global Health Histories Seminar 93

Thursday 12 November 2015, 12.30PM

Speaker(s): Dr. Fern Elsdon-Baker (Newman University Birmingham, UK) and Dr Santino Severoni (WHO)

This seminar will be streamed live over the internet. The link is: and will be activated at 12.30 CEST (11.30 BST) on October 8. Anybody who wants to interact with the seminar, including posing questions to the speakers, will be able to tweet using the hashtag #GHHistories or email

Global Health Histories Seminar 93 Flyer (PDF , 1,209kb)

The refugee crisis in Europe has provided examples of both the best and the worst in human nature. Many have seen it as a call to action. Yet many more have been paralysed by fear. Migration is nothing new – throughout human history, populations have rarely remained stationary. However, since the nineteenth century, the world has witnessed an unprecedented increase in people's ability to move around the globe. In this seminar our expert panel will discuss the cultural contexts in which the public health aspects of temporary and permanent migration are situated.

Public "scientific knowledge" can affect perceptions of risk in health care decision-making. The lack of understanding of how different communities might perceive or engage with science and medicine will potentially have real-world impacts on health and well-being. For these reasons, WHO recently created a task force on migration and health to support Member States and country offices in dealing with the challenges posed by the recent large influx of migrant populations.

In their presentations, Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker and Dr Santino Severoni will reflect on perceptions and prejudices that may affect individuals or institutions when approaching research, policy decision-making or delivery of services. What are the cultural stereotypes that distort views of migrant health? How can cultural competency be improved among health workers?

Part of the World Health Organization Global Health Histories Seminar series. Presented in association with the University of York's Department of History and supported by the Wellcome Trust. Please visit the World Health Organisation's website for more information on the Global Health Histories seminar series. Archives of past presentations, including audio files of many seminars, are available via the WHO’s and Centre for Global Health Histories’ websites.

Location: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe

Admission: Broadcast live online. For more information and to register, please contact: