Interview Medicine On The Move

Medicine on the move

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Creating awareness on health and migration 

During our study we learn a lot about being a good doctor. However, even though migration has been greatly discussed in our society, it is not touched upon within our study. Because of this issue, Medicine on the Move was founded in June 2020 by Elena Soldati, Nienke Jensma and Macky Done. In only 6 months the committee grew from 3 members to 12. Their main objective is to create awareness within the future doctors on health and migration. They hope to inspire future doctors to learn and research more on this topic and create a more inclusive health care system in the future. Because of their good cause, we decided to interview them.

Can you tell more about the foundation of medicine on the move?
Migration and the refugee crisis was not included in our curriculum, not even within the community of Global Health. We decided to contact the Global Health unit of the UMCG to address this. They saw the issue and asked us to organise a webinar about these topics. We organized this and a few months later we did a symposium. Both were quite successful and right now we are planning on organizing two symposia every year related to the topics of migration. Our last symposium last april was for example about racism in healthcare and about the health of refugee children. 
Finally, we were also invited to arrange an intracurricular class for the 1st year students of global health; both the teacher and the students were so enthusiastic we hope it will be a yearly opportunity.

Why is it important for doctors and future doctors to know about topics like migration and the refugee crisis?
Like I told earlier, migration and especially the refugee crisis are big phenomena that affect our society. Not only refugees, but doctors will also face patients with a migration background, with a different culture, sometimes a different language, and a different way of approaching health problems. And it is almost certain that this will increase. Because of these reasons, It is a topic of great importance, also for doctors and other health workers here in the Netherlands. In order to have an inclusive health care system we need to be able to treat everyone adequately, especially the most underserved people.

You told us before the interview that you have a Tolken Project and the NGO project. Could you tell the readers more about these projects?
Yes, so the Tolken Project is a project to tackle one communication problem some patients face that do not speak fluent dutch. Because of this, there is a risk that the problem of the patient is not well understood. There is already a solution to tackle this problem: the Tolken telefoon. However, there are many doctors that do not know how to use this. So that is why we started this project where we for example organise workshops for healthcare workers to make them aware of this tool and teach how to use this the most effectively. 
The NGO project aims to connect students from the University of Groningen with medical NGO(s) providing healthcare and support to refugees. We aspire to create internships as an integral part of the curriculum, where medical students will have the option of working for those NGO’s as medical students, or simply as volunteers. We want to create a network with NGOs in Italy, Greece and in the Netherlands. 

How can our readers follow your activities?
You can follow us on facebook (medicine on the move), instagram (@medicineonthemove), and linkedin (Medicine on the move (MOTM)). Social media is a great way to raise awareness on topics like migration and the refugee crisis. That is why we post news related to migration and refugees to keep people updated. Additionally, we also give updates on our upcoming events, like symposia and workshops. 

Wanna join us?
Are you interested in health and migration?
Do you want to improve medical education by bringing your own idea?
Do you  want to help organize classes with doctors and experts from all over the world? 
(Nigeria, Yemen,  Afghanistan, Iraq, Koerdistan, Suriname and sometimes also The Netherlands!)
Do you want to be in direct contact with the Global Health professors and doctors of the UMCG?

We have 4 positions opening in August / September 2021:
2 students for social media
1 student who wants to join the NGO team
1 student who is interested in becoming the new chair (with mentoring by the current chair!)

Contact us on instagram or here: