Migrant Health

Migrant Health Subgroup of the Campbell and Cochrane Equity Methods Group

Migrant Health
There are currently more than 214 million international migrants worldwide and this number is expected to double to 400 million by 2050. International migrant is a term that refers to immigrants, refugees, refugee claimants/asylum seekers, irregular migrants and circular migrants. While these migrants are able to transcend geographic limitations, they often face significant barriers in respect to political rights and local social and health services.  For example, new immigrant populations often arrive healthier than the native-born population, but their health begins to decline after their arrival. Certain migrant populations, such as refugees, irregular migrants, low income immigrants and immigrant women with limited local language proficiency, are at risk for a rapid decline in health. 

The Migrant Health Subgroup

The Migrant Health subgroup of the Campbell and Cochrane Equity Methods Group focuses on evidence based migrant health, guidelines and migrant-equity.     

The vision of the Migrant Health Subgroup is to use Cochrane Evidence Based Methods and Equity Methods to prioritise, and synthesis quality evidence on migrant health.   Evidence based guidelines for migrants are beginning to appears, for example, Canada, Australia, and migrant equity lens are emerging to assist in Health Equity Impact Assessment.   Working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), WHO, GRADE Methods Group, and stakeholders in high and low/middle income countries, we will:

  1. Develop high quality International and National GRADE guidelines for migrant populations.

  2. Synthesis evidence and develop a Migrant Equity Lens to support policy and practice.

The group aims to improve the health of vulnerable migrant populations by synthesizing migrant relevant evidence and  shining a light on important equity  gaps in related interventions and outcomes. The Migrant Health Subgroup plans to make resources as accessible to the migrant health community as they are to the general population while considering the information needs and literacy skills of immigrant communities. This will increase usability and impact patient satisfaction and health services use. By tailoring approaches to meet the needs of migrants, the Migrant Health Subgroup aims to increase knowledge and awareness of practitioners, and ultimately lead to changes in practice and improved health outcomes of migrants. Doing so will increase their ability to reduce the health gap that exists between migrant and non-migrant communities. 

Using evidence-based guideline to improve the settlement of vulnerable populations affected by migration

News - July 10, 2015: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has awarded Tender to a team of migrant health and equity effectiveness methods experts from Europe, Canada, US, and Australia. The team will use high quality evidence-based methods to search, synthesize, and develop health recommendations for primary care, public health, and health policies affected by migration. The project will incorporate new Campbell and Cochrnae Equity Methdos as well as the Evidence to Decision process of the European Union GRADE-DECIDE approach.  

This 3 year project will produce unique evidence-based guidelines on infectious diseases for the 28 European Union countries and the European Economic Area countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The project will be managed by the EURO HEALTH GROUP in Copenhagen and sciectifically led by Drs. Kevin Pottie, Per Olav Vandvik, David Ingleby, and Rachael Morton.


Evidence-based methods and guidelines are emerging as important processes to support health-for-all and this includes durable and resilient health systems for disadvantaged persons affected by migration. As the data and synthesis for this guideline becomes available in 206, it will be critical to engage Europe's migrant health research and advocacy communities. This project will contriute work in relation to community engagement and public trust and support an equity approach. This approach will estimate patient values and preferences, acceptability, impacts on equity and civil society, feasibility, and cost.

Subgroup Co-Coordinators are:

Dr. Kevin Pottie, Lead Coordinator, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Dr Elie Akl, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Charles Hui, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Dr. William Stauffer, University of Minnesota, Minnesota, USA

Dr. Grant Russell, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia 

Subgroup staff are:

Ayesha Ratnayake, MPH, Research Coordinator, Migrant Health

Belinda Smith, Field Administrator, Migrant Health

The activities of the Cochrane Migrant Health Subgroup are funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, and the World Health Organization. 



Related Resources

Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (CCIRH) Knowledge Exchange Network

Immigrant Health Podcasts at Cochrane.org

Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases. Diagnosis, management and prevention of infections in recently arrived refugees

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for pre-departure and post-arrival medical screening and treatment of U.S.-bound refugees