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Experts Work Together to Bolster Migrant Health Research

March 1/2021

A group of DLSPH researchers have come together to explore the intersection of migration and public health.

Prof. Andrea Cortinois

“The DLSPH has a long tradition of research and teaching in this area,” Prof. Andrea Cortinois, a group member of DLSPH’s Public Health and Migration says, “but we do not have a ‘home.’ By creating the Public Health and Migration, we want to attract attention on migration as both a global and local determinant of health, stimulating collaboration, and favouring synergistic efforts.”

Migrants are often separated from their land and home as they search for employment and a better life, says Cortinois. They are experiencing migration in different ways since the pandemic. Migrants in Canada are highly represented in essential industries like agriculture and have been exempt from travel restrictions since the start of the lockdown.

Cortinois’ research interests focus on the social costs of migration in countries of origin and on the links between climate change, environmental degradation, and displacement. He looks to his counterparts within the group to delve into topics like migration, mental health and gender-based violence.

As the group’s official public launch, they’re hosting an event to the public on March 2 to discuss the health implications of migration. Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida Dr. Heide Castañeda and Executive Director of Lancet Migration Dr. Miriam Orcutt will offer a broad exploration of migrant health, while focusing on COVID-19’s impact.

Cortinois is also collaborating with the Pan-American Health Organization and WHO to understand the future of climate change, migration and displacement. The same collaboration includes Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil. They will explore the opportunity to create a series of masterclasses offered in English, Spanish and Portuguese, that would bring together experts from both Americas.

For now, the group is building partnership internally and hoping to bring greater awareness to migrant public health research. As a primer, “Global Public Health and Migration: People, Borders, and Health Systems event emphasizes the complexity of dealing with migrant health,” he says.

The event has been organized in partnership with the DLSPH’s Centre for Global Health and the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.