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Culture, Migration and Health




Admissions requirements



Today’s globalized world is marked by high levels of migration. This global flow of people is linked to diverse health risks, both to the migrant and to the communities that they move to. These include the rise of pandemics, but also particular health issues related to the type of migrant (long-term migrants, refugees, migrant workers, trafficked person, retirement migrant), and to features of the migrant population such as gender, ethnicity, class, and legal status. At the same time mobile people are not only migrants or refugees but also the millions of people from all walks of life who practice mobility as a very significant dimension of their livelihood systems. Migration is not just related to increased health risks but also climate change. This means that mobility is related not only to simply seeking health or beauty but a matter of livelihood due to climate change induced forced migration. This course will address the inter-linkages between on culture, migration and health with covering diverse topics

  • Define the general relationship between culture, migration, and health.

  • Gain knowledge of health disparities experienced by specific populations

  • Understand the role culture plays in health education/behavior and program planning & evaluation.

  • Understand the relationship between health risk (vulnerability) and sociocultural structures; gender and health; and the meaning of cultural sensitivity.

  • Improve skills in cultural competency, critical thinking, analysis, writing, and speaking

Course objectives

  • Critically discuss the relationship between culture, migration, and health behavior.

  • Demonstrate the application of culture and its influence on health behavior from a health education perspective

  • Gain insight to how an ethnocentric view of health behavior influences effective health education in a multicultural population.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Videos

  • Site visits

  • Discussions


Individual assignment 1 - Reflection paper (18%)
Individual assignment 2 - Cultural Competence Interview (18%)
Group project – poster and presentation (25%)
In-class participation (debates, case presentation, etc), Blog writing Blackboard participation (19%)
Final individual paper (20%)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Subject to change:

  • Purnell, L. (2002). The Purnell model for cultural competence. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3), 193-196.

  • Hanna, B., & Kleinman, A. (2013). Unpacking global health: Theory and critique.

  • Willen S.S. (2011) Do “illegal” im/migrants have a right to health? Engaging ethical theory as social practice at a Tel Aviv Open Clinic. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 25: 303-330. Doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1387.2011.01163.x

  • Mendoza, F.S. (2009). Health disparities and children in immigrant families: A research agenda. Pediatrics, 124, S187-S195

  • Dutta, M. (2004). The unheard voices of Santalis: Communicating about health from the margins of India. Communication Theory, 14(3), 237-263.

  • De Jesus, M., Carrette, C., Maine, C., & Nalls, P. (2015). ‘Getting tested is almost like going to the Salem with trials’: Discordant discourses between western public health messages and sociocultural expectations surrounding HIV testing among East African immigrant women. AIDS Care, 27(5), 604-611

  • Ravenell, J.E., Johnson, W.E., & Whitaker, E. E. (2006). African-American men’s perceptions of health: A focus group study. Journal of the National Medical Association,98(4), 544-550

  • Hsiang, Solomon M., Meng, Kyle C. & Cane, Mark A. 2011. Civil conflicts are associated with the global climate. Nature (46):438-441.

  • Review. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Accessible at


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


M.J. Cho, PhD