Transforming Health Policies through Migrant User Involvement: Lessons Learnt from Three European Countries

Reference: De Freitas, C., García-Ramirez, M., Aambø, A. y Buttigieg, S. (2014). Transforming health policies through migrant user involvement: Lessons learnt from three European countries. Psychosocial Intervention, 23, 105-113.

Abstract: Designing and implementing equitable health policies requires the involvement of all stakeholders. However, disadvantaged groups are under-represented in European health participatory mechanisms. Migrants and ethnic minorities (MEMs), for example, are consistently left out of policy-making fora. Additionally, MEMs lack a voice on the programmes that are intended to benefit them. This can jeopardize the responsiveness of health policies to MEM needs and undermine the development of diversity sensitive care, making way for increased inequities in health. It is necessary therefore to investigate innovative strategies capable of fostering MEMs’ participation. Community psychology is particularly promising in this respect as it aims to mobilize the resources that communities possess, rather than simply teaching people to use services developed by others. Moreover, it highlights collaborative/participatory research approaches, which privilege the involvement of all stakeholders. By employing a community psychology approach, this paper looks at three European countries –the Netherlands, Norway and Spain– and summarizes lessons learnt from their experiences with migrant user involvement. The cases reported address different aspects of involvement, including: community mobilization, sociopolitical development, and creation of community alliances and coalitions. Its analysis offers several insights that can transform policy-making into a more inclusive process.

Keywords: User involvement, Health policy, Health equity, Migration, Community psychology.

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