Final conference Budapest – The Patient of the New Millennium

The HEALTHY DIVERSITY final event combines an Interdisciplinary International Conference (2-3 July) to explore various intersectional areas of medicine, anthropology and migration, and three training days (4-5-6 July) which will allow participants to get familiar with the Healthy Diversity methodology and training resources.
The Training for healthcare professionals is complementary to the Conference and it is free to conference participants up to the limit of available places.

Venue: Conference Center of the Central European University, Kerepesi út 87, 1106, Budapest.

The Patient of the New Millennium: An Interdisciplinary International Conference

2-3 July 2018 – The conference languages are English and Hungarian (simultaneous translation)

Why a conference on this topic?

We are well ahead in the 21st century. Looking back on the past 20 years the distance separating us from the last millennium seems already enormous and it is growing every day. Everything changes rapidly in our societies, and these changes have far reaching consequences on our understanding of health, healing and on what we expect from the health system. One trend that seems to clearly emerge is that the sharp dividing line that separates medicine from other disciplines in general, and from social sciences in particular, looks increasingly blurred. On the pretext of presenting a European project around the topic of “Healthy Diversity” we propose to visit three border areas of medicine, the development of which, we believe, will have an important impact on the encounter between patients and medicine in the near future. We will discuss the following themes:

  • Medicalisation of society – Demedicalisation of medicine

Medicalization, the well-known phenomena first described by the Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich in the mid-70’s, undoubtedly has more actuality than ever before. On the one hand, people tend to rely heavily on solutions offered by the flourishing medical technology, thus being more and more dependent on it. On the other hand, due to various changes in our societies (like democratization of knowledge and individualization), patients would like to keep more control over their own bodies in the schematized and industrialized structures of health care institutions. Furthermore, reductionist biomedical approaches seem to fail to satisfy the humanistic needs of these patients. These oppositional tendencies create tangible tension provoking new answers from medical as well as non-medical scenes.

  • Unhealthy Societies: inequalities and health in welfare societies

It has been long known that socioeconomic status (SES) or sociocultural conditions (SCC) have a great impact on the health status of a given population. However, new forms of inequalities have been arising in the new millennium due to globalizing processes (risk distribution, different mobility patterns, climatic changes), as well as technological advancements (digital poverty, rarefying social relations), which represent new challenges to medicine as well. Studies have convincingly shown that inequality as such blocks health condition improvements on a societal level. Demographic, ecological and political research categorically questions the possibility of sustainability in the near future unless we intervene on inequalities. The field of medicine cannot shy away from these questions either.

  • Healthy or unhealthy diversity? dealing with sociocultural diversity in the health systems

Meeting with a doctor is almost always a sensitive moment for all of us as it may have a direct impact on our well-being. This encounter involves at least three parties: the institution, the doctor and the patient. It is becoming more and more usual that the three actors represent radically different sociocultural identities. Although the increasingly mechanistic protocols used in the health system ignore it, interpersonal relations have an important role in the healing procedure. But what happens when the patient and the health worker do not understand each other? How to establish the necessary trust if the actors in the best case totally ignore the world in which the other lives, in the worst case they are full with stereotypes and prejudices? Different initiatives address this problem all over Europe, (intercultural trainings for health professionals, Migrant Friendly Hospitals, EquiHealth – IOM, Nowhereland, etc.), but there is clearly still place here for more imagination and innovation.

Besides the three themes, we will present all the project pedagogical resources developed by the partnership as well as some good practices from the partner countries.

The format of the conference will include key note presentations and round table discussions, allowing participants to actively take part in the debates.

Download the Conference detailed programme

– Abstract book of speakers’ contributions 

Conference registration form: English , Magyar

International training on the intersections of Health and Society

4-5-6 July 2018 – The training language is English

Download the training brochure

The Healthy Diversity methodology

The project activities are based on the method of Critical Incidents developed by the French social psychologist Margalit Cohen-Emerique, that proposes a resourceful strategy to uncover the set of cultural norms, values and behaviours that people belonging to the same culture tend to take for granted (e.g. gender roles, rationality, ideas about concepts like life or wellbeing). Through lifting the often negative emotional haze surrounding intercultural misunderstanding, this methodology helps to become more aware of the illusion of our own cultural neutrality and invites us to explore the cultural reference frames in a more objective way, opening up a margin for negotiation where prejudice has a lesser role to play.