International Society of Travel Medicine
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 9.00 - 17.00 EDT (UTC-04)

Scientific Program

International Conference on Migration Health Scientific Program Information

Full Scientific Program Schedule (PDF format)

International migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact. Human migration is now at an all-time high, accounting for 240 million persons and is shaping world events and fuelling political and public debates. People have been migrating since the beginning of human history to escape natural catastrophes, wars and dictatorships or to seek out a better life for themselves and their families. These flows have led to the progressive and balanced mixing of people that has generally been productive, leading to cultural and economic exchanges that have benefited both the native and migrating populations and have built nations. The rate of migration however, has increased dramatically since the 1970s, tripling over this time. Forced migration, driven primarily by conflicts, social injustice and global inequities, has also increased during this same time, resulting in a quarter of all international migrants who are refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced persons many with health disparities. Migrant populations are heterogeneous and have a broad range of health needs -- their presence raises several medical, ethical, economic, social and cultural issues for both migrants and receiving health systems.

Top of page

Session Types

Top of page

Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Dr. Kamran Abbasi
Dr. Kamran Abbasi
Dr. Kamran Abbasi is a physician, journalist, editor, and broadcaster. He is the British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) Executive Editor for Content, and is leading the Journal's strategic growth internationally, both digitally and in print. In other roles he has worked as a Chief Executive and Medical Director of medical education and health information companies, and as a freelance consultant, writer, and editor. Dr Abbasi has written on a broad range of topics in medicine and international health, including a major series on the World Bank and its role in global health. He is an honorary senior lecturer in the department of primary care and public health at Imperial College, London.



Mohammed Abdiker
Mohammed Abdiker
Mr. Mohammed Abdiker serves as the Director of the Department of Operations and Emergencies at the Headquarters of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Based at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, the Department leads the response and coordination of all humanitarian and post crisis stabilization programming. Mr. Abdiker began his rich professional career with IOM in 1996, working on the United States Refugee Resettlement and Cultural Orientation programmes in Kenya. Since then, he has accumulated over 19 years of field experience on a range of migration issues in crisis and post crisis settings for IOM, which he brings to the role of Director. This includes serving as Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka (2007- 2010); the Chief of Mission in Zimbabwe (2003-2007); as well as covering the return and resettlement of refugees for IOM offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, and West Africa. He has also focused extensively on IOM’s Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration programming.



Prof. Dr. Francesco Castelli
Prof. Dr. Francesco Castelli

After a period of time spent in Sub-Saharan Africa working for the World Health Organization in the field of diarrheal diseases and infant vaccinations, Prof. Dr. Francesco Castelli became Professor of Infectious Diseases, and Director of the Post-Graduate School of Tropical Medicine at the University of Brescia. At the University of Brescia, Prof. Castelli also acts as the Director of the Department of Mother and Child Care and Medical Bio-Technologies. He is also the head of the Tropical Unit at the Institute for Infectious and Tropical Diseases.


Dr. Ranieri Guerra
Dr. Ranieri Guerra

Dr. Ranieri Guerra has been appointed Assistant Director-General for Special Initiatives of the WHO and is responsible for the Migration portfolio. A physician from Italy, he has more than 30 years of public health experience. From 2014-2018 he served as Director General for Preventive Health and Chief Medical Officer of the Italian Ministry of Health. He has published extensively on humanitarian and emergency operations and health reform in developing and transitional countries. He also has worked with several multilateral organizations and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in these settings.


Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs
Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs
Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs is an economist and is recognized as one of the world's leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty. He is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, and a professor of health policy and management at Columbia's School of Public Health. Since 2017, he has served as special adviser to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals adopted at a UN summit meeting in September 2015. He held the same position under the previous UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and prior to 2016 held a similar advisory position related to the earlier Millennium Development Goals. He was first appointed special adviser to the UN Secretary-General in 2002 during the term of Kofi Annan.


Dr. Paul Spiegel
Dr. Paul Spiegel
Dr. Paul Spiegel is a physician by training and is internationally recognized for his research on preventing and responding to complex humanitarian emergencies. Before becoming Center for Humanitarian Health Director at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Speigel was the deputy director of the Division of Programme Management and Support Services for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Prior to joining the UN in 2002, he worked as a medical epidemiologist in the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has also worked as a medical coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in refugee emergencies, as well as a consultant for numerous organizations.


Dr. Patricia F. Walker
Dr. Patricia F. Walker

Dr. Patricia F. Walker has been a clinician and medical educator focused on refugee and immigrant health care since 1979. She is internationally recognized for her work in defining the body of knowledge that encompasses refugee and immigrant health care. From 2002 to 2004, she chaired the State of Minnesota Immigrant Health Task Force, a group of 70 experts who developed best practices in care for refugees and immigrants in Minnesota that are being shared internationally. Dr. Walker has published multiple clinical articles, invited commentaries and book chapters on refugee and immigrant health and co-edited a 2007 medical textbook, Immigrant Medicine.


Top of page

List of Session Types


Migration: Past, Present, Future
    Mohammed Abdiker, IOM, Switzerland

Migration: Where do we go from here?
    Ranieri Guerra, WHO, Italy

Top of page


Promoting and Protecting the Health of Migrants
    Francesco Castelli, Italy

Migration Today: Challenges and Opportunities
    Jeff Sachs, United States of America
    Paul Spiegel, United States of America

    Patricia Walker, United States of America

Top of page


Caring for Migrants as the Result of Irregular Surges: Experiences of Receiving Countries in the European Refugee Crisis
    Apostolos Veizis, Greece 
    Androula Pavli, Greece
    Susanne Pruskil, Germany

Public Health Surveillance for Refugees and Migrants
    Emily Jentes, United States of America  
    Maurice Ope, Kenya
    Silvia Declich, Italy

Caring for Migrants as the Result of Regular Migration: Experiences of Major Migrant Receiving Countries in North America
    Annalee Coakley, Canada   
    Paul Douglas, Switzerland
    Tseganesh Selameab, United States of America

Mental Health Among Migrants in Different Settings
    Eric Jarvis, Canada
    Cornelius Katona, United Kingdom
    Vincenzo Spigonardo, Italy

Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases
    Charles Agyemang, The Netherlands   
    Maria L. Muiesan, Italy
    Tom Schulz, Australia

Tuberculosis, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis
    Julia del Amo, Spain
    Jordan Feld, Canada
    Sally Hargreaves, United Kingdom

Parasite: Malaria, Chagas, Schistosomiasis, and Strongyloides
    Zeno Bisoffi, Italy
    Rogelio López-Vélez, Spain

    Eli Schwartz, Israel

How to Address Migrant and Refugee Women's Health
    Ghayda Hassan, Canada   
    Crista Johnson-Agbekwu, United States of America
    Claire Tantet, France

Setting Pediatric Migrants Up for Long-Term Success
    Ulrich von Both, Germany
Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn, United States of America
    Alisa Miller, United States of America

Top of page

Panel Discussions

Regional Migration: Challenges and Opportunities
    Davide Mosca, Italy

    Seif Al-Abri, Oman
    Job Muriuki, Switzerland
    Padam Simkhada, United Kingdom
    Apostolos Veizis, Greece

Communicating about Migrant Health: Shaping the Public and Policy Discourse
    Kamran Abbasi, United Kingdom

Paul Spiegel, United Kingdom     
    Robert Vitillo, Italy
acqueline Weekers, Switzerland

Top of page


Screening for Latent Tuberculosis Among Migrants
    Ymkje Stienstra, The Netherlands

    Drew Posey, United States of America

    Delia Goletti, Italy
    Dominik Zenner, United Kingdom
    Mareike Van der Werf, Sweden

Top of page


Vaccination Issues Along the Migration Pathway: Accomplishments and Challenges
    Anita Heywood, Australia
    Michelle Weinberg, United States of America

Building Transcultural Competences and Working with Interpreters and Cultural Brokers
    Gianfranco Costanzo, Italy
    Tseganesh Selameab, United States of America

Educating the Next Generation of Health Care Providers for a Mobile World
     Nathan Bertelsen, Turkey
   Brett Hendel-Patterson, United States of America

The Art and Science of Screening Migrants
    Rogelio Lopez-Velez, Spain
    Teymur Noori, Sweden
    William Stauffer, United States of America 

Successfully Engaging Migrants in Health Care
    Janine Benson-Martin, Germany   
    Dominik Zenner, United Kingdom

Digital Solutions to Enhance the Continuity of Care for Refugees and Migrants
    Kanav Kahol, United States of America
    Kudzai Kanhutu, Australia 
    Thomas Schulz, Australia

Top of page

Final Conference Wrap-Up

    Kamran Abbasi, United Kingdom
    Nina Marano, United States of America
    Patricia Walker, United States of America   

Top of page

Case of the Day

Challenging Cases in Migration Medicine
    Poh Lian Lim, Singapore 
    Eskild Petersen, Oman

Top of page

Building Research Networks

    Chuck Hui, Canada 
    Jo Veary, South Africa

Top of page

Early Morning Sessions

Migration Aspects of GeoSentinel®
    David Hamer, United States of America

Protection and Promotion of Health and Safety of Migrant Workers
    Anita Heywood, Australia
    Yuka Ujita, Switzerland
    Masatoki Adachi, Japan
    Paul Douglas, Switzerland
    Frank Pega, Switzerland
    Ridwanur Raman, Bangladesh
    Yuka Ujita, Switzerland