Establishing an international interdisciplinary research network on Multilingualism in Health Care

Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and Equality, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Duration: 01/2019-08/2021


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

In order to address the issue of how best to provide high-quality health care to patients with different cultural backgrounds and who may not be proficient in the language(s) of their respective host countries, an interdisciplinary research consortium will be established. The network will enable the partnering universities and institutions of higher education to share their individual expertise in areas involved in health care for linguistically diverse populations in various contexts. The network will exchange its expertise on methods and content, by workshops, research proposals and publications.

The core of this interdisciplinary network stems from a common interdisciplinary research project performed at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in cooperation with the University of Hamburg on “Multilingualism in the Sustainable University” as well as a first workshop with colleagues from the University Medical Center Odense in Hamburg in 2018, following the 1st World Congress on Migration, Ethnicity, Race & Health in Edinburgh (


The Kick-off workshop was held on the 4th and 5th of October in 2019 at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg with colleagues from nine European countries. The following workshops were being held every half a year. Several research proposals have been submitted from the group members, of which two have been approved:

“Multilingualism in providing quality mental health care to migrants – needs, resources and practices (MiM2M)”; Funding: Volkswagen Foundation [Verlinkung auf die zweite Projektbeschreibung]

“Development and implementation of a digital platform for the promotion of access to mental healthcare for low language proficient third-country nationals in Europe (MHEALTH4ALL)”, Funding: EU AMIF

The name if the network is “Interdisciplinary Research Network on Multilingualism in Healthcare”. The website of the Network is:

Project staff

Project partner

  • University Hamburg, Department of Linguistics
  • University of Southern Denmark, Center for Global Health
  • University of Latvia, Center for Diaspora and Migration Research
  • Stockholm University, Institute for Interpreting and Translation Studies