PAHO Signs Cooperation Agreement with Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto to Advance Knowledge Generation on Health and Migration in the Americas

17 Nov 2021

Washington, DC, November 17, 2021 (PAHO)- The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) at the University of Toronto signed a new three-year agreement that seeks to continue to strengthen and expand joint efforts focused on health and migration in the Region of the Americas. The specific objective is to expand the knowledge base on health and migration, promote evidence-based policymaking, and foster a culture of cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas and research-based solutions on priority health topics in this area of work. 

“This partnership comes at an opportune time when several countries in the Region are experiencing increased population movements in which the health needs of refugees and migrants often go unaccounted for,” said James Fitzgerald, Director of the Department of Health Systems and Services at PAHO.

The COVID-19 pandemic has additionally highlighted the importance and urgency of addressing gaps in health data and the need to support Member States that are working to strengthen their applied research capacities, knowledge management, and systemic response to the health needs of refugees and migrants. 

Through this partnership, the organizations will collaborate on activities that support applied research, knowledge synthesis and dissemination, and information-sharing on health and migration. PAHO and the DLSPH plan to work within these areas on such actions as, for example, the collection, analysis, and exchange of refugee- and migrant-specific health data, essential to fully characterize their health needs and the conditions of populations in situations of vulnerability, such as migrant women and girls. 

“Our joint work on knowledge generation will also support efforts aimed at developing evidence-based health policies and public health interventions that promote their access to comprehensive, quality and timely health services,” said Fitzgerald.

Moreover, both organizations aim to advance the understanding of the link between health, migration and other sustainable development areas. For example, examining the nexus between health, migration, and climate change. In this regard, this partnership would help improve the quality of the evidence generated on the topic to better inform policy work, advocacy efforts, and capacity-building activities, focusing on communities in situations of vulnerability who will be the first to feel the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.

Ultimately, this collaboration aims to elevate the role of academia on health and migration and support the realization of PAHO´s commitments to accelerate progress towards achieving universal access to health and universal health coverage.