Monday, 24 May 2010

Bodies Across Borders: The global circulation of body parts, medical tourists and medical professionals

Fondation Brocher, Switzerland, 15 - 17 December 2010

Workshop Rationale

The fields of medicine and healthcare are being transformed by new communications and biomedical technologies, which have facilitated marked increases in the global circulation of body parts, patients and medical professionals across national borders. These movements often echo other movements of capital and resources, travelling from rural to urban areas, from poor to rich, and from the Global South to the Global North. These movements also raise a number of specific concerns depending on the kind of body (body part, patient or professional) circulating. Consequently academic and policy debates tend to focus on particular issues and perspectives with little opportunity for scholars, policy makers and professionals in medicine and healthcare to discuss their experiences and share insights into the different ways in which bodies cross national borders.

This workshop will bring together researchers working on different kinds of bodily circulations within the global healthcare and medical environments to explore common themes, concerns and issues, including:

- The underlying structural and economic inequalities between nations and peoples which drive much of the trade in bodily commodities and movements of medical tourists and medical professionals.

- The impacts of these movements on the health care industry of the countries that supply medical professionals, healthcare services and body-parts (usually in the Global South) and the countries that receive medical professionals, services and body parts (usually in the Global North).

- The challenge of reconciling the practices, standards and expectations of medical professionals and patients from different countries and healthcare traditions and the question of how and to what extent these circulations of healthcare workers, medical tourists and bodily commodities should be internationally monitored and regulated.

The one-and-a-half day workshop will be organised thematically, with three separate sessions each focusing on a different kind of circulation. This will then be followed by a round-table discussion, focused on the key research questions outlined above, in order to identify shared themes and connections, and possibilities for future collaborations and research relationships.

Workshop organisers and sponsor

The workshop is organised by members of the Health, Place and Society research theme, based in the Department of Geography, Queen Mary University of London and is sponsored by the Fondation Brocher. The workshop will be hosted by the Fondation Brocher, (, at their centre in Hermance, Switzerland.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

International Medical Travel and Tourism Academic Study List

I've just started a listserv called the "International Medical Travel and Tourism Academic Study List" (visit to register) for dedicated academic researchers across the globe. Please do register and get involved in developing our budding community. It's really important for us to produce knowledge about the international medical travel industry as it develops so that we might be able to help shape its course.