Health research priorities for forced migrants

In June 2016, the Academy convened a roundtable of experts to discuss priorities for health research relating to forced migrants.


Forced migration reached unprecedented levels in 2015, with an estimated 19.6m individuals worldwide being displaced by a variety of factors including persecution, conflict, generalised violence or human rights violations. The scale and speed has been felt across the globe, with over one million forced migrants entering the European Union in 2015.

This presents new challenges both to the UK healthcare system as it seeks to meet the health needs of these individuals during arrival and integration, and to the research community seeking to provide the evidence base needed for effective and equitable treatment of this diverse population.

Such populations are associated with a complex background of health determinants, derived both from external factors which forced their migration,  and the often traumatic conditions of their journey. Upon arrival, these individuals frequently experience severe marginalisation and poverty, which can be further compounded for those without official documented status.

In response to these challenges, on 15 June 2016 the Academy convened a roundtable to discuss priorities for health research in this area. The event was Chaired by Professor Dame Anne Mills DCMG CBE FRS FMedSci, Professor of Health Economics and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and aimed to:

  • Explore our current understanding of forced migrant populations.
  • Discuss the role of research in improving the health of these individuals once in the UK.
  • Consider the associated research priorities.

Attendees included representatives from across relevant academic disciplines, alongside senior representatives from Whitehall, public bodies, and think tanks.  

A report of the discussions is available to download from the right hand side of this page. 

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