Migration, Culture, Health and Research


Course Objective

To offer students knowledge at an advanced level about health issues
related to migration, the role of culture in patients perceptions on
health and illness, and possibilities of health care institutions to
offer cultural sensitive care.
To gain insight in qualitative research results carried out in the areas
migration, culture and health.
To offer research skills in carrying out qualitative health research
within diverse cultural settings in The Netherlands or abroad.
Students will be supervised in writing a qualitative health research

Final attainment levels: the student
- has knowledge about theoretical concepts, theories and qualitative
research in the field of migration, culture & health;
- understands health and illness issues that are related to migration;
- understands cultural factors that are related to patient perspectives
on health, illness and health care use;
- can explain possibilities to develop cultural sensitive health care;
- can explain the difference between qualitative and participatory
(action) research;
- can apply traditional qualitative data collection techniques (e.g.
focus group discussions & in-depth interviews);
- shows skills in the field of visual qualitative research methods (e.g.
life line & photo voice);
- is able to carry out different types of qualitative data analysis;
- is aware of the specific challenges when conducting qualitative
research with migrant populations in different cultural contexts;
- is able to develop a qualitative research proposal according to high
scientific standards.

Course Content

Cultural diversity and health care, migration and health, culture and
Cultural sensitivity and ethics in migration research;
Various schools of qualitative and participatory research;
Linking research with interventions and advocacy. Learning to work with
mobile populations;
Learning about traditional qualitative and visual data collection
Translation & transcription; different types of qualitative data
Quality measures within a qualitative health research;
Writing and publishing a qualitative health research project.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (12 hrs), work group (16 hrs), workshops (4 hrs),
group projects (8 hrs), self study (80 hrs).

Method of Assessment

Participation and input during lectures and work group;
Presenting qualitative research evidence on migration, culture & health;
Preparing and conducting a workshop;
Producing and analyzing qualitative data;
Writing and presenting a qualitative research proposal.

Presenting research evidence, organizing the workshop, producing and
analyzing data counts for 40%;
Writing and presenting a qualitative research proposal counts for the
other 60% of the final result.

Entry Requirements

bachelor in health, life or social sciences


• Green, J & Thorogood, N. (2014), Qualitative Methods for Health
Research. Third Edition. London: Sage
• Helberg-Proctor, A., Meershoek, A., Krumeich, A., & Horstman, K.
Ethnicity in Dutch health research: situating scientific practice.
Ethnicity & Health (21)5: 480-497
• Baum, F., MacDougall, C., & Smith, D. (2006), Participatory action
research. J Epidemiol. Community Health 60: 854-857
• Gramling L.F, & Carr R.L. (2004), Lifelines. A Life History
Methodology. Nursing Research 53, 3:207-210;
• Kahissay, MH, Fenta, TG. & Boon, H. (2017), Beliefs and perception of
ill-health causation: a socio-cultural qualitative study in rural
North-Eastern Ethiopia. In: BMC Public Health 17:124
• Brisset, C., Leanza, Y., Laforest, K. (2013), Working with
interpreters in health care: A systematic review and meta-etnography of
qualitative studies. Patient Education and Counselling 91: 131-140.
• Davies, AA, Basten, A, Frattini C. (2006), Migration: A social
determinant of the health of migrants. International Organisation for
Migration (IOM), Background Paper. IOM Migration Health Department,
Geneva, Switzerland.
• Fatahi, N. & Krupic, F. (2016), Factors Beyond the Language Barrier in
Providing Health Care to Immigrant Patients. In: Med Arch 70(1): 61-65.
• Lofink, HE. (2012), ‘The worst of the Bangladeshi and the worst of the
British’: exploring eating patterns and practices among British
Bangladeshi adolescents in
East London. Ethnicity & Health (17) 4:385-401
• Keygnaert, I., Vettenburg, N., Roelens, K., Temmerman, M.
(2014),Sexual health is dead in my body: participatory assessment of
sexual health determinants by refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented
migrants in Belgium and the Netherlands. In: BMC Public Health 14: 416;
• Frambach, J. Vleuten, C. van der, & Durning, SJ. (2013), AM Last Page:
Quality Criteria in Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Academic
Medicine 88: 552.
• Kohinor, MJE , Stronks, K. , Nicolaou, M., & Haafkens, JA.
(2011),Considerations affecting dietary behaviour of immigrants with
type 2 diabetes: a qualitative study among Surinamese in the
Netherlands. Ethnicity & Health 16, 3: 245-258;
• Murray, K., Mohamed, A.S., Dawson, D.B. Syme, M., Abdi, S.,
Barnack-Tavlaris, J., Somali Perspectives on Physical Activity:
Photovoice to Address Barriers and Resources in San Diego. Prog
Community Health Partnersh 2015; 9 (1): 83-90.
• Molloy, L (2016), Nursing care and the indigenous Australians: An
autoethnography. Collegian:
• Powell Sears, K. (2012), Improving cultural competence education: the
utility of an intersectional framework. In: Medical Education 46:
• Rechel, B, Mladovsky, P. Ingleby, D., Mackenbach, JP., & McKee M.
(2013), Migration and health in an increasingly diverse Europe. Lancet
• Salad, J., Verdonk, P., Boer, F. de, Abma, T. (2015), “A Somali girl
is Muslim and does not have premarital sex. Is vaccination really
necessary?” A qualitative study into the perceptions of Somali women in
the Netherlands about the prevention of cervical cancer. International
Journal for Equity in Health, 14:68.Doi 10.1186/s12939-015-0198-3.
• Schuster, J., Beune, E., & Stronks, K. (2011), Metaphorical
constructions of hypertension among three ethnic groups in the
Netherlands. In: Ethnicity & Health 16; 6: 583-600;
• Seeleman, C., Suurmond, J., & Stronks, K. (2009), Cultural
competence: a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Med. Educ
• Tong, A., Sainsbury, P. & Craig, J. (2007), Consolidated criteria for
reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-item checklist for
interviews and focus groups. International Journal for Quality in Health
Care 19 (6): 349-357.

Target Audience

Health & life sciences, medical science, social sciences, global health
research, (international) public health research, international
migration and health

Additional Information

Attendance of workgroup sessions is compulsory.

Main lecturers: Fijgje de Boer (PhD) & Maaike Muntinga (PhD), both
working at the Department of Medical Humanities at
the VUmc School of Medical Sciences, Amsterdam.

Recommended background knowledge

Bachelor in health, life or social sciences

General Information

Course Code AM_470813
Credits 6 EC
Period P3
Course Level 600
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. F. de Boer
Examiner dr. F. de Boer
Teaching Staff dr. F. de Boer

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Study Group
Target audiences

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