In Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (Ed.) Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Volume 39. Emerald Publishing (Forthcoming)
HEALTH & MIGRATION
Migration always tests and often distresses the wellbeing of migrants and their relatives. Healthy migrants become ill because of the stressful conditions of migration, migrants return to their places of origin with a deteriorated mental and physical health, and relatives of migrants who stay behind develop psychological and bodily ailments. All of these unhealthy processes have consequences at not only the personal and family level, but also the community level, generating a public health impact in sending, transit and receiving communities. Moreover, the worsening living conditions surrounding migrants and their relatives in their places of origin, the increasingly precarious and dangerous quality of migration journeys, and the growing hostility against immigrants in transit and receiving countries have further deteriorated health outcomes as a whole. The health challenges of migrant populations are unquestionably on the rise. Nevertheless, the effects that migration has on individual, family and collective health are neither included in health professionals’ education nor made public knowledge among migrant populations. Likewise, they are neither taken into account in migration or health policies nor used to coordinate the two systematically or efficiently.
This dilemma has called the attention of health providers and migrants’ advocates who have been invested in reducing health disparities among migrant and non-migrant populations for several decades. One of these groups invited me to join their efforts and design a bilingual, transnational, activist research project focused on the Ecuadorean case. In 2015, I began to work with an interdisciplinary group at the Institute for Health and Migration of the Hospital of the Technical Particular University of Loja, Ecuador with the support of RIID. In 2016 and 2017, I returned to Ecuador to develop fieldwork as a Fulbright Scholar, and in 2018, the project expanded to Spain thanks to a CRS grant.
In line with the activist approach of the project, that includes bilingual community workshops and curriculum development, I collaborated with artist, Abraham G. Salazar, to develop visual instructional materials on the issue. An open access website in Spanish is now available including these visual content. Moreover, a group of students from the art, design and photography programs at my university (Nikola Venglarovam, Aliyah Campbell, Kayana Ternize and Arecis Tiburcio Zane) assisted in the creation of additional graphic elements for the project. For the art and design contributions, we received the Social Action Award from Sociologists for Women in Society (2018).
Based on this research, I wrote a book, Migration, Health, and Inequalities: Critical Activist Research across Ecuadorean Borders (Bristol University Press, 2022) and a journal article, "Una aproximación sociológica crítica activista al estudio de salud y migración: El caso ecuatoriano" ("A Critical Sociological Activist Approach to the study of Health and Migration") (Revista CS, 2019), and co-authored a chapter with Sarah Kraft "Migratory Stress, Health and Gender: An Intersectional Analysis of the Ecuadorean Case” in Health and Health Care Inequities, Infectious Diseases and Social Factors (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 39, edited by Kronenfeld, J.J., Emerald Publishing Limited).
You can watch an episode of Salud y Querencia where I spoke about these issues here. Keep posted for new developments!