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we do research

for a better understanding

interdisciplinary research network

on multilingualism in healthcare


who we are is an international interdisciplinary research network on Multilingualism in Healthcare with academic partners from various disciplines including Public and Global Health, Linguistics, Translation Studies, Social Sciences, Migration Research and others.

who we are

our aim is to strengthen 
the interdisciplinary scientific collaboration 
on multilingualism in healthcare:

We want to bring academic partners together

We want to exchange
expertise on research methodologies & knowledge

We want to conduct
 international research projects

Krankenschwester und Patient

our background

Due to globalization and the increasing numbers of migrants and refugees worldwide host countries have experienced a rise in multilingualism in a variety of contexts, including healthcare, in which communication is of utmost importance .


Many migrants may not be proficient in the language(s) of their host country, even after a considerable period of stay in these countries .

Resources in this context are, for example, the language competencies of healthcare professionals as well as e-Health solutions . In addition to language barriers, the role of culture in healthcare can cause additional barriers. The Lancet Culture and Health Commission identified the systematic neglect of culture in health as one of the largest barriers to the advancement of the highest attainable standard of health worldwide and pointed to the importance of cultural awareness in healthcare .
In contrast to an obvious clinical challenge posed when treating patients with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds that has tremendous consequences on patient´ safety and the quality of their treatment, there is an overall lack of research on migrant health .

In order to address the issue of how best to provide high-quality healthcare to patients with different cultural backgrounds and who may not be proficient in the language(s) of their respective host countries, the proposed interdisciplinary research consortium will enable the partner universities and institutions of higher education to share their individual expertise in multilingual healthcare communication in various clinical contexts.


Patients with limited language proficiency in the local language of their country of residence are found to have limited access to healthcare, lower rates of physician visits, reduced understanding of physicians’ explanations, poorer adherence to treatment and are less satisfied with health care services.


currently the network consists of the following partners


Dorthe Susanne Nielsen

University of Southern Denmark
Center for Global Health

"The international and interdisciplinary network strengthen the research, approach and competences in offering patients with language barriers and equal and professional treatment – therefore I am very happy to be a part of this group."

Helena Bani Shoraka

Stockholm University
Institute for Interpreting & Translation Studies

"The irmh net offers an important opportunity for highlighting multidisciplinary efforts to overcome language barriers and to establish equal, professional and sustainable healthcare."

Ieva Reine

University of Latvia / Riga Stradiņš University
Center for Diaspora and Migration Research / Statistics Unit

"The multinational approach of the network gives new perspectives to foreseen needs in Latvia. Scientifically proven strategies in providing the best services for different segments of the society can be incorporated in the policies. Besides, Latvian experience through many decades with non-Latvian speaking residents could also be a case to be studied and learnt from to better succed in provision of different kinds of social and healthcare services, information and and inclusion of those groups."

Doris Anita Hoehmann

University of Bologna
Department of Interpretation & Translation

"The irmh net offers the opportunity to share ideas and discuss research findings within an interdisciplinary framework."

Demi Krystallidou

University of Surrey
Centre for Translation Studies

"As a researcher in multilingual communication with multidisciplinary healthcare teams, I place great value on scientific evidence that is co-produced by interdisciplinary teams and a wide range of stakeholders in order to improve healthcare policy, clinical practice and education leading to more inclusive and personalised healthcare for all."

Sebastian Muth

Lancaster University
Department of Linguistics & English Language

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Sonja Pöllabauer

University of Vienna
Center for Translation Studies

"As a researcher in the field of interpreting studies, the irmh net offers me the chance to exchange ideas with colleagues from other fields, get an insight into perspectives from outside my own field, and possibly cooperate on innovative topics."

Carmen Delgado Luchner

University of Geneva
Global Studies Institute

"Exchanging with experts from across Europe enriches my practice as an interpreter trainer and researcher, and allows me to better prepare trainees to facilitate access to health care for migrants in Switzerland."

Barbara Schouten

University of Amsterdam
Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences

"Nothing worthwile in history has ever changed without the sustained actions of a group."

Claudio Scarvaglieri

Ghent University

Department of Translation, Interpreting & Communication

"Anyone who has had to make use of medical services in a foreign country has certainly experienced how challenging it can be to discuss matters of physical and mental well-being of oneself or a loved one in another language. Within irmh we are working on improving our scientific understanding of the communicative processes involved in providing medical care to immigrants. As a linguist, I am excited to contribute to this undertaking that aims to lay the ground for a better provision of health care to all citizens in Europe."

Kristin Bührig 

University Hamburg
Institute for German Language & Literature

"Basing on experiences from Medical Sociology and Applied Linguistics I am interested in questions of patients' participation and enhancing symmetries in medical communication. With respect of multilingual healthcare these questions are of pestering importanceunabdingb. To deal with all the relevant ascpects of this matter it is indispensable to work in a resp. this transdisciplinary and international team."


Mike Mösko

University Medical Center Hamburg
Department of Medical Psychology

"We are conducting research together to improve health care for linguistically diverse patients."

Saskia Hanft-Robert

University Medical Center Hamburg
Department of Medical Psychology

"The irmh network offers me the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers across national borders and different disciplines and to exchange ideas on how to achieve culturally and linguistically sensitive health care."

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