Pre-conference: Health systems responses to migration: from crisis mode to diversity-sensitive inclusive systems

Wednesday 9 November, 09:00 – 17:00 CET in Alpha 5


Organised by:

Heidelberg University Hospital, Section for Health Equity Studies & Migration and Bielefeld University, Department for Population Medicine & Health Services Research, in cooperation with EUPHA Migrant health section and Lancet Migration European Hub 


Many health systems in Europe are poorly prepared to respond to the health needs of migrant populations, including labour migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, undocumented migrants, or mixed-migration flows. In a globalizing world, characterized by uncertainties, international mobility has become the rule rather than the exception. Patterns of migration in the last decades have ranged from continuous flows to large-scale displacements, caused by multifactorial and syndemic causes, such as war, financial crises, natural disasters and climate change. Despite these global and transformative forces, health systems are stuck in national silos, and have not kept pace with the increasing human mobility in terms of normative, structural, or systemic perspectives.

Agnostic tactics, political ignorance, and overt racism have contributed to exclusionary and securitized health policies, and to societal responses which treat migration as a nuisance, a threat, or a transient. As such, health system responses to migration are often haphazard, fragmented, normatively loaded, and based on exceptionalism. In order to strengthen health systems and be prepared for ‘a world on the move’, a radical shift is required from ad hoc and crisis responses to diversity-sensitive inclusive health systems.

The workshop brings together experts from across Europe to take stock based on experiences from the summer of migration 2015, the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently the war in Ukraine to discuss the role of data, governance, and policy in facilitating such a shift. The event further aims to bring together researchers, civil society, policy makers, and migrant advocacy groups to foster sustainable networks that collaborate across European countries towards diversity-sensitive inclusive health systems. To this end, we aim to produce policy-oriented outputs with all participants, summarising conclusions from each panel including calls for action.

The event is (co-)funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research in the scope of the project RESPOND (


The detailed programme is available here.


The pre-conference is financially supported and the registration fee is only EUR 20. Networking lunch and refreshments are included. Number of registrations is limited.