Migrant and Refugee Health

Mission of the ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group

Migrants make up an important group of international travelers (VFR travelers) and are increased risk for several infectious diseases and travel related conditions. This health disparity is due to several factors including; a higher prevalence of infections acquired in their countries of origin, low uptake of pre-travel health advice and preventive interventions, increased risk behavior and exposure during travel and low awareness in health care providers of the health issues of this population or how to best address them. The health encounter with the travel medicine provider, either before or after travel, provides an opportunity to promote the health of this population through updating routine and travel related vaccinations, screening for prevalent diseases and other preventive measures.

The ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group aims to:

  1. Promote and raise awareness among travel medicine providers of the range of health issues in the migrant population (acquired in their countries of origin prior to arrival or during travel).
  2. Develop strategies and tools of how to best address the health issues of the migrant population and encourage using the travel health encounter as an opportunity for health promotion of this population.
  3. Collate written materials addressing the most important health issues of immigrants and VFR travelers and develop new materials as deemed necessary to educate practitioners. Provide access to these documents on the ISTM website.
  4. Promote the development of novel interventions, tools and methods of how to engage the VRF traveler in the pre-travel encounter.
  5. Promote research on important health issues of VFR travelers and other migrants in order to decrease health disparities.

Call for Nominations Open

Are you interested in serving as an officer on the Steering Council of the ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group? If so, please complete a nomination form by 15 August 2017 to be considered for inclusion on the ballot. Download the nomination form. Get involved!!  We need you.

We urge you to consider either submitting your own name for nomination, or that of another Migrant Interest Group member whom you consider well qualified for one of the positions. More information on the Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group, as well as the Call of Nominations Application Form, can be found on the ISTM website Migrant and Refugee Interest Group page (http://www.istm.org/migrantgroup)

Mission of the ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group
Migrants make up an important group of international travelers (VFR travelers) and are increased risk for several infectious diseases and travel related conditions.  This health disparity is due to several factors including; a higher prevalence of infections acquired in their countries of origin, low uptake of pre-travel health advice and preventive interventions, increased risk behavior and exposure during travel and low awareness in health care providers of the health issues of this population or how to best address them.  The health encounter with the travel medicine provider, either before or after travel, provides an opportunity to promote the health of this population through updating routine and travel related vaccinations, screening for prevalent diseases and other preventive measures.   The ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group aims to:

  1. Promote and raise awareness among travel medicine providers of the range of health issues in the migrant population (acquired in their countries of origin prior to arrival or during travel).

  2. Develop strategies and tools of how to best address the health issues of the migrant population and encourage using the travel health encounter as an opportunity for health promotion of this population.

  3. Collate written materials addressing the most important health issues of immigrants and VFR travelers and develop new materials as deemed necessary to educate practitioners. Provide access to these documents on the ISTM website.

  4. Promote the development of novel interventions, tools and methods of how to engage the VRF traveler in the pre-travel encounter.

  5. Promote research on important health issues of VFR travelers and other migrants in order to decrease health disparities.

Council Structure

The Migrant Interest Group is governed by a Steering Council elected by its membership. The Steering Council consists of seven (7) members, with a Chair, Chair-Elect, and Past Chair. It is anticipated that subcommittees will be formed from within the group members, and the elected council may appoint cooperating members. The Group Chair will report to the ISTM Executive Board.

Current Council
Masatoki Adachi (Japan), Chair
Christina Greenaway (Canada), Past Chair
Francesco Castelli (Italy) Council member
Jose Flores (Mexico), Council member
Rafael Lefkowitz (United States of America), Council member
Harunor Rashid (Australia), Council member

Welcome to the Migrants and Refugees Health Interest Group page on the ISTM website. We will be updating this page regularly and hope you will visit often. The Interest Group invites all ISTM members who are interested in the travel health of migrant and other mobile populations to join our group. There is no cost to join, and it's easy. Click here to join or for more information.

The focus of the Support Group is to address issues pertaining to travel health influences and implications related to migrants and other mobile populations.


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ISTM Migrant Interest Group Organizational Structure and Leadership Plan

Basic Operational Structure

The ISTM Migrants Interest Group will be governed by a Steering Council elected by its membership. The Steering Council will consist of 7 members, one of which will be Chair, one Chair-Elect and three Council Members. It is anticipated that subcommittees will be formed from within the group members, and the elected council may appoint cooperating members. The Elected Steering Council will need to fine tune the process once elected, including developing policies for vacancy of positions. The Group Chair will report to the ISTM Executive Board.

Steering Council Membership

  • Seven members
  • The council members must represent different world regions and at a minimum three continents must be represented. A minimum of 2 seats in the Council will be reserved for ISTM members from Africa, Asia or Latin America
  • Interest Group membership may be multi-disciplinary.
  • Interest Group members must be full ISTM Members.
  • Members seek participation out of genuine interest in the Group and its initiatives.
  • Potential council members are required to present their CV and a written vision statement. This application need not be proposed and seconded and can be self declared on advertisement of the open position.
  • Members and Officers serve terms of two years, with a limit of two terms in succession.
  • Approximately one third of members are elected every two years to allow for continuity.

Steering Council Officers

  • Two officers: Chair and Chair Elect, each serving for a two year term.
  • Chair Elect becomes Chair at end of term
  • Immediate Past Chair remains on Council as Ex-Officio (non-voting) Member for 1 two-year term.

Election of Steering Council Members and Group Officers

  • A call for nominations will be sent to all members of the Group, with a deadline date to submit application forms to the ISTM Secretariat. This time frame is anticipated to be 3 weeks or more.
  • The Group Members will elect the initial Chair, Chair-Elect and Steering Council Members. After the first election, the Chair-Elect will succeed the Chair.
  • For future elections, a 3 Person Nominating Task Force will be appointed by the Steering Council to review applications, ensure completeness and eligibility to run, and construct the final ballot to ensure regional representation. Note the Nominating Task Force Members will not be eligible to run in the election. One ISTM leader may be asked to serve on the Nominating Task Force.
  • Electronic ballots will be distributed. Only members of the Group will be eligible to vote for the Steering Council. The voting time frame is anticipated to be 4 weeks or more.

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Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group Activities

The ISTM Executive Board has created a Special Task Force on Migrants. It is going to be working in conjunction with the Interest Group and is considering further development of programs or projects with the Migrants themed events with support of ISTM Executive Board. As the Interest Group, we hope to provide and bring opportunities for all the interest group members to be involved in the process. Please address any issues or topics, ideas or suggestions to us to make the programs and projects even better as further details unfold!

This year is going to be another exciting year for the Interest Group with many opportunities for projects. We would like to encourage each Interest Group member to be involved in the process and discussions. Health issues relating to migrant and refugee involve immediate health issues to long-term care. Also, health needs of migrants and refugees are not only a global issue but are local issues as well. We are waiting for your support and involvement!