Monday, 26 October 2015

CFP: Trips that Heal: Exploring Recent Trends in Wellness, Health and Medical Tourism (Special Issue of The International Journal for Responsible Tourism)

Call for Papers– Trips that Heal: Exploring Recent Trends in Wellness, Health and Medical Tourism (Special Issue of  The International Journal for Responsible Tourism) 

Extended Deadline November 9


The notion that travel has restorative properties lies at the historical roots of tourism. Tourists’ pursuits have long been guided by an underlining belief that by ‘getting away’ from time to time they can  improve their physical and mental health (Urry 2001). Over the past 
century, specific styles of tourism have emerged to provide more focused  responses to a wide range of curative needs. Today people travel to spas  and balneary destinations for non-invasive practices and preventive  treatments (Reisman 2010) but also, and increasingly, to state-of-the-art hospitals, for more targeted intrusive procedures (Lunt et al. 2011).

This special issue of IJRT is concerned more broadly with Wellness and Health Tourism, but has a particular focus on Medical Tourism. Some of the questions and topics with which we seek to engage include, but are not limited to, the following:

- /The conceptualisation and terminology used in understanding these different types of tourism, as well as their methodological underpinning/ (Connell 2013). How can we quantify and assess the impacts of these phenomena? How do they differ and overlap and what is their relation with more standard forms of tourism?

- /The demographic, social and economic background of people who travel for health reasons/. How do travellers’ profiles link with the severity of the procedures they pursue?

- /Markets and marketing of medical tourism./ How and why do markets for medical tourism develop (Lunt and Carrera 2010)? Who are the key stakeholders in this process? What are the marketing strategies of the industry? Papers that bring evidence from emerging markets are particularly welcome.

- /Barriers vs. assistance encountered by tourists/patients in their travel./ What kind of legal, bureaucratic, cultural, material and emotional issues they face and what are the actual or possible responsesin terms of infrastructure and regulations offered by the industry’s stakeholders and by policy makers (Garcıa-Altes 2005)?

- /Trips that do not heal./ What can go wrong in Wellness, Health, or Medical tourism? How can legislation, international partnerships or accreditation schemes be developed in order to protect tourists/patients (Reisman 2010; Lund /et al./ 2011)? How do people access information about service providers and how reliable is this knowledge? 

- /Country-level risks and benefits of outsourcing medical services/ (Bies and Zacharia 2007). What is the impact of medical tourism on the national healthcare systems of both sending and receiving countries?

  • Bies, W. and Zacharia, L. (2007). Medical tourism: Outsourcing surgery. /Mathematical and Computer Modelling, /46, 1144-1159.
  • Connell, J. (2013). Contemporary medical tourism: Conceptualisation, culture and commodification. /Tourism Management, /34, 1-13.
  • Garcıa-Altes, A. (2005). The Development of Health Tourism Services./Annals of Tourism Research/, 32(1), pp. 262–266
  • Lunt, N., Smith, R., Exworthy M., Green, S. T., Horsfall, D. and Mannion, R. (2011) /Medical Tourism: Treatments, Markets and Health
  • System Implications: A scoping review /[Online]. Available from:
  • Lunt, N. and Carrera, P. (2010). Medical tourism: Assessing the evidence on treatment abroad./Maturitas, /66, 27-32.
  • Reisman, D. (2010). /Health Tourism: Social Welfare Through International Trade. /Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
  • Urry, J. (2001). /The tourist gaze. Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies/. London: Sage.
*Submission guidelines*
Papers must be between 5000 – 9000 words. Shorter texts may be submitted as research notes or essays. Authors are required to provide a 
short abstract, 3-5 keywords, and mention their (academic) title and institutional affiliation. References should be cited according to the Harvard style. Please send manuscripts to

*About IJRT*
/The International Journal for Responsible Tourism (IJRT)/aims to create a space for analysing and debating key issues related to the notion of 
responsible tourism. We invite scientific papers that are both theoretically informed and empirically grounded and we are particularly 
interested in scholarship that can be applied, serving as a base for training and guiding various tourism practitioners.

/IJRT/is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal edited by the /Amphitheatre Centre for Education, Development and Research/. The 
publication is the first of its kind in Romania and it also represents the main outlet for papers that are discussed in the /International 
Forum for Responsible Tourism/. /IJRT/ is indexed by RePEc, Econ Papers, EBSCO, CABI, Index Copernicus, CIRET and getCITED International. For 
more information and the full archive of the journal, please visit:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

CFP: 1st IMTJ Academic Conference ‘Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?’, 25-26 May 2016, Madrid

IMTJ Academic Conference

‘Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?’

25-26 May 2016
Madrid, Spain

Call for papers

Much research on ‘medical tourism’, ‘international medical travel’, ‘cross-border healthcare’ and ‘transnational patient mobility’ to date has focused on the hopes, motivations and experiences of mobile patients as well as on the desires, plans and expectations of the national destinations that attract and host them. By contrast, scant scholarly work has examined the concrete effects of this growing phenomenon on the diverse range of places, peoples, health and social systems, and industries in the areas where these patients habitually reside and, for medical travel destinations, in the particular local areas where these patients’ (physical, symbolic and economic) presence can most be felt.

As a result, while more and more governmental and private-sector bodies in destinations are investing in the development of ‘medical tourism’, scant evidence is available to support, refute or complicate:
  • ·         Popularised notions about who is actually travelling for what kinds of medical attention and treatment;
  • ·         Claims that ‘medical tourism’ can serve as an engine for economic development in destinations or hinder/harm mobile patients’ home and host health systems; and
  • ·         Arguments about who benefits and who does not from ‘medical tourism’ and ‘transnational patient mobility’ strategies that are shifting and evolving in line with emerging and changing market, social and political situations both within and beyond national borders.

This two-day conference therefore aims to bring together scholars from academic and research institutions from around the globe in order to critically examine and discuss existing and emerging national, sub-national, transnational and cross-sectoral strategies for the following:
  • ·      Promoting and dissuading ‘medical tourism’ and ‘transnational patient mobility’ in and between source and destination sites, in order to draw attention to the diversity of stakeholders, interests and scales involved;
  • ·      Evaluating and managing the range of real and expected impacts of (diverse stakeholders’ investments in) ‘medical tourism’ and ‘transnational patient mobility’ in and between source and destination sites, in order to move beyond an unproductive circulation of often poorly-grounded claims and counter-claims; and
  • ·      Identifying and assessing the real-life needs, desires, expectations and practices of a broader range of foreign healthcare-users and -consumers, in order to recognise not only the great diversity of mobile patients (e.g., geographical origins, socio-economic and political status, etc.) but also other resident ‘foreigners’ (e.g., expatriates, lifestyle migrants, foreign students, etc.) who make use of ‘medical tourism’ resources.

We invite scholars to submit papers that critically engage with the abovementioned issues. Papers focused on multi-scalar and cross-sectoral governance of ‘medical tourism’ and ‘transnational patient mobility’ initiatives, partnerships and networks as well as those examining how ‘medical tourism’ and ‘transnational patient mobility’ fit within broader development objectives (e.g., transition towards the creative economy, biotech development, regional and city place-branding, etc.) are especially welcome.

The Academic Conference (25-26 May 2016) will overlap with the International Medical Travel Journal’s (IMTJ) Medical Travel Summit (24-25 May 2016), which brings together governmental and industry representatives from around the world who are involved in the development of medical tourism. This will provide a unique opportunity for conference participants to attend parts of the IMTJ Summit and actively foster and engage in much-needed cross-sectoral knowledge exchange and dialogue.

To submit a paper proposal, please submit a 250-word abstract and a 100-word bio via before 11 December 2015. Scholars and researchers in any stage of their career (e.g., PhD students, etc.) are encouraged to share their studies. Successful applicants will be contacted by 8 January 2016 and will be expected to register for the conference by 12 February 2016 to secure their place in the May 2016 conference programme. For further information about the call for papers, please contact a member of the Academic Advisory Board:

·           Meghann Ormond (Wageningen Univ., The Netherlands)
·           Neil Lunt (Univ. of York, UK)
·           John Connell (Univ. of Sydney, Australia)

Conference logistics

Conference registration and fees

Information about conference registration can be found at Academic rates are only available to attendees who are affiliated with an academic or research institution.

1-day access to the Academic Conference
EUR 200
2-day access to the Academic Conference
EUR 275
2-day access to the Academic Conference + 2-day access to the IMTJ Summit
EUR 400

Conference location

The Academic Conference and the IMTJ Summit will be held at Hotel Meliá Avenida América in Madrid, Spain. Information about the venue can be found at

Additional information

For further queries about conference logistics, please refer to or contact the Event Director, Sarah Ward,

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

2015-16 Lecture Series: 'Global Health: Knowledges, Dispositifs, Poli-cies/-tics', Paris, 15/10/15-14/06/16

Collège d'études mondiales
Program type :
Office :
Person in charge :
Thursday 15 October 2015
Tuesday 14 June 2016
Financement :
The framing of health as a global issue over the last three decades has carved out an intellectual, economic and political space that differs from that of the post-war international public health field. This older system was characterised by disease eradication programs and by the dominance of nation states and the organisations of the United Nations. The actors, intervention targets and tools of contemporary global health contrast with previous international health efforts. The construction of markets for medical goods takes a central place in this new era, as does regulation by civil society actors. Global health can also be characterized by co-morbidities between chronic and infectious diseases, the stress on therapeutic intervention, risk management, health as an instrument of 'community' development and the deployment of new modes of surveillance and epidemiological prediction. This emerging field takes on a radically different appearance when examined at the level of its infrastructures (such as the WHO, the World Bank or the Gates Foundation) or at the level of the knowledges and anticipatory practices generated by its practices and local instantiations.
This seminar will combine historical, sociological and anthropological approaches to examine this globalized space and the assemblages that constitute it: public-private partnerships, foundations, local 'communities', cancers, 'non-communicable diseases', risk prevention, monitoring and evaluation, etc. Particular attention will be given to the infrastructures and the contemporary dynamics of knowledge production, insurance techniques and diagnostic interventions, therapeutic 'innovations' in their diverse geographies, including Africa, Asia or Latin America. These often differ widely from transfer schemes between the global north and the global south that insist on technological dependency. The seminar will examine the myriad local forms that global health takes in everyday practices.
Organized by Claire Beaudevin (CNRS-Cermes3), Fanny Chabrol (Inserm-Cermes3), Jean-Paul Gaudillière (Inserm-Cermes3), Frédéric Keck (CNRS-LAS/Musée du Quai Branly), Guillaume Lachenal (Université Paris Diderot-IUF), Vinh-Kim Nguyen (Collège d'Etudes Mondiales), Laurent Pordié (CNRS-Cermes3), Émilia Sanabria (Inserm-École Normale Supérieure de Lyon)
This lecture series is supported by the ERC project « From International Public Health to Global Health » (CERMES3, Paris & University of Oslo) and the chair for Anthropology and Global Health (Collège d’Etudes Mondiales, FMSH, Paris).
For updated practical information :

Friday, 9 October 2015

Event: Upcoming academic conference 'Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?' in association with the 2016 IMTJ Medical Travel Summit, Madrid, Spain, 25-26 May 2016

The inaugural IMTJ Academic Conference -- which runs from 25-26 May 2016, in Madrid, Spain -- will provide a rare opportunity for academics and researchers from around the globe to share their knowledge and research in the developing medical travel sector. It will overlap with the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit, which concentrates on the commercial and business aspects of the medical travel sector, and runs from 24-26 May 2016. 

Delegates may register for the Academic Conference, alone, or purchase a combined delegate pass for the Summit and Academic Conference. Reduced rates are offered  for any delegate from an academic or research institution.
The agenda for the Academic Conference is being put together by an Advisory Board consisting of:
  • Dr Meghann Ormond, Assistant Professor of Cultural Geography at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
  • Dr Neil Lunt, Reader, Social Policy and Public Sector Management at the University of York in England.
  • Professor John Connell, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Submission of Academic Papers

The call for papers for the Academic Conference will soon be made available. If you wish to submit a paper for consideration for the Academic Conference, please complete the submission form. Proposals must be submitted by November 30th 2015.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

New article in Healthcare Asia Magazine: 'The market next door: No need to look farther for Asian medical tourism'

Some of my reflections on medical tourism development and intra-regional medical travel in Asia were published in the July-October 2015 edition of Healthcare Asia Magazine

Event: International Health and Wealth Conference, 15-17 Oct. 2015, Algarve, Portugal

The IHW Conference ( is a unique, independent networking event connecting industries and business linked to Health & Wealth, one of the world´s most prosperous and developing cross-section markets in the 21st century.
Experts from more than 15 countries vitalize debate, research and international networking.
Smart Ageing and Silver Economy are on schedule – synonyms for innovation, double-digit growth and new market opportunities. What are the needs and preferences of “Generation 55+”?
Modern Care Solutions are required globally, across borders, especially from European citizens. What can be done ? What is feasible and affordable ? Can corporate finance and private equity accelerate destination-driven solutions ? And how affects the social and political framework ?
Medical Tourism is highly trendy, competition is huge. What are the most relevant contemporary issues ? New destinations, new services, new market players ?
Finally, the future of Tourism gets strongly touched by global mobility and Health & Wealth.
How destinations such as the Algarve is able to add value and create an individual USP ? Is it in line with the interest of the elderly generation, and its habits, with regard to wealth and retirement management ? 
Additionally, IHW will schedule breakout sessions and an interactive workshop about Medical Tourism and its cross-sectoral influence.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Conference: Theorizing the Body in Health and Medicine - 26-27 Nov. 2015 - Maastricht, NL

Theorizing the Body in Health and Medicine
2-days workshop
26-27 November 2015
Maastricht University
For most health and medical professionals “the body” functions as a taken for granted entry point for analyzing, imaging, screening, diagnosing, curing, caring, nursing, training, and feeding people. It is also often considered as different from, and even opposed to, “the psyche” which results in sharp distinctions between somatic and mental illnesses. This biomedical idea of the body and its alleged mental counterpart has been put into question by both social constructivist oriented theories and phenomenological oriented theories. Where the first underline that the meaning of the body is intrinsically related to cultural, social and economic context, and to power relations within the health care system, the latter explain in what sense people’s lived body experiences diverge from medical conceptions of soma and psyche. While these two theoretical approaches are both crucial for reflecting on the meaning of the body in health and medicine, they are often seen as opposing and even mutually exclusive. The aim of this workshop is to explore the meaning of the body at the intersection of these two approaches. To this purpose we will discuss topical issues in contemporary health and medicine and examine how social and cultural contexts are decisive for the labeling of bodies in terms of being healthy, sick, disabled or enhanced, while simultaneously taking seriously the individual, material, and experienced body of patients and health seekers.

Thursday November 269.00-9.45 Registration + coffee tea
9..45 Opening address
10.-11: Invited speaker: Lisa Blackman, Goldsmith College, London
Embodying Voice Hearing: Challenges and Tensions
11.-11.45: Ben Belek, Cambridge University
The Sensitive Body: Articulating autistic bodies, embodying autistic articulations
11.45-12.30: Ian Tucker, University of East London
Medication bodies: Affection, distress and social media
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-14.30: Invited speaker: Kevin Aho, Florida Gulf Coast University
A Hermeneutics of the Body and Place in Health and Illness
14.30-15.15: Ana Koncul, Telemark University College
Cultural Marginalization and Constructions of Differently Able Bodies
15.15-30 Break
15.30-1615 Jonathan Mitchell, University College Dublin
Atypical Morphology and the Normative Limits of Ability and Function
16.15-1700 Else Vogel, University of Amsterdam
Practicing embodiment: Handling shifting bodily configurations through obesity surgery
17.00 Drinks
Friday November 27
9.30-10.30 Invited speaker: Stefan van Geelen, University Medical Center Utrecht
Somatic symptom disorders and embodiment in psychosomatics and psychiatry
10.30-11.15 Karin Eli, University of Oxford & Anna Lavis, University of Brimingham
Body and Being in Anorexia: Experiential Intersection of Culture, Medicine and the Senses
11.15-30 Break
11.30-12.00 Kaisu Koski , University of Tampere – video screening: Not to scale at all
12-13 Lunch
13-14 Invited speaker: Kristin Zeiler, Linköping University
On the Making of Altruistic Bodily Exchanges in Medicine – Why Feminist Phenomenology and Social Constructivism Not Only Can but Preferably Should Be Combined
14.14.15 Break
14.15- 15.00 Nelly Oudshoorn, University of Twente
Technologies inside the body. Rethinking agency and vulnerability of users
15-15.45: Jaana Parvianen, University of Tampere & Ilmari Kortelainen, University of Tampere
Self-knowledge through self-tracking? A phenomenological discussion of methodologies for generating knowledge from the body in the age of health technologies
15.45-16: Break
16-17: Wrap up/general discussion

Registration is required.
To complete registration visit our site:

Registration will close 31 October.

Friday, 18 September 2015

CFP Health mobilities: Interrogating the intersection of healthcare, globalization, mobility and commodification, 2016 AAG, San Francisco

Call for Papers, AAG San Francisco, March 29 to April 2, 2016
Health mobilities: Interrogating the intersection of healthcare, globalization, mobility and commodification

Audrey BOCHATON, University Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, LADYSS, France  
Heidi KASPAR, University of Zurich, Switzerland

For health and wellbeing people have been travelling since time immemorial. Yet, since recently, the mobility of bodies in search of relief from suffering, a cure or prolonged life has been intensifying and diversifying. Privatization and deregulation have been transforming healthcare into a profitable industry, in formal as well as informal and legal as well as illegal settings. E.g. illicit and state regulated markets in fresh organs (Scheper-Hughes 2001, 2007), corporate hospitals conducting overseas health camps to attract foreign patients, migration and knowledge transfer in health professions, small and large scale trade in allopathic and traditional pharmaceuticals, …

Critical research has been clear and right in pointing out that neoliberal transformations in health(care) implies commodifying bodies and body parts (Cohen 2005; Parry 2015; Whittaker & Speier 2010). As the global care chain literature has been highlighting, high-income countries embody neocolonial characteristics/practices by extracting skilled healthcare personnel from low- and middle-income countries (Hochschild 2000; Pratt 1999, 2009; Walton-Roberts 2012). These practices reproduce and aggravate global socio-economic and health inequalities. However, simultaneously, new markets, technologies and flows might have the potential to improve marginalized people’s access to healthcare, such as through transnational medical travel or the use of telemedicine, and labor.

Therefore, we invite papers that discuss new forms of flows and new twists to old forms of mobilities by deploying a critical, though nuanced perspective. We welcome papers that
·     analyze circulations of material and immaterial entities and the formation of connectivity that enables these mobilities,
·     engage with shifting and/or persistent power relations,
·     discuss the entanglements of embodied practices and socio-economic contexts,
·     reflect on what kind of health, care and transfer is involved and/or at stake in transnational health mobilities.

The previous topics are not exhaustive; other proposals connected with health mobilities will be explored, too. Conceptual and empirical contributions are equally welcomed.

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of app. 250 words to Audrey Bochaton ( and Heidi Kaspar ( before 15th October 2015.
Successful applicants will be contacted by 20th October 2015 latest, and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online to the AAG website by 29th October 2015.  

Please refer to the AAG website ( for a schedule of registration fees which are due at online submission.

  • Cohen, Lawrence. “Operability, Bioavailability, and Exception.” In Global Assemblages. Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems, edited by Aihwa Ong and Stephen J. Collier, 79–90. Malden, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
  • Hochschild, Arlie Russell. “Global Care Chains and Emotional Surplus Value.” In On the Edge. Living with Global Capitalism, edited by W. Hutton and Anthony Giddens, 130–46. London: Jonathan Cape, 2000.
  • Parry, Bronwyn. “Narratives of Neoliberalism: ‘clinical Labour’ in Context.” Medical Humanities 41, no. 1 (June 1, 2015): 32–37. doi:10.1136/medhum-2014-010606.
  • Pratt, Geraldine. “Circulating Sadness: Witnessing Filipina Mothers’ Stories of Family Separation.” Gender, Place and Culture. A Journal of Feminist Geography 16, no. 1 (2009): 3–22. doi:10.1080/09663690802574753.
  • Pratt, Geraldine. “From Registered Nurse to Registered Nanny: Discursive Geographies of Filipina Domestic Workers in Vancouver, B.C.” Economic Geography 75, no. 3 (July 1, 1999): 215–36. doi:10.2307/144575.
  • Scheper-Hughes, N. “The Tyranny of the Gift: Sacrificial Violence in Living Donor Transplants.” American Journal of Transplantation 7, no. 3 (2007): 507–11. doi:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2006.01679.x.
  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. “Bodies for Sale - Whole or in Parts.” Body & Society 7, no. 2–3 (2001): 1–8.
  • Walton-Roberts, Margaret. “Contextualizing the Global Nursing Care Chain: International Migration and the Status of Nursing in Kerala, India.” Global Networks 12, no. 2 (April 1, 2012): 175–94. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0374.2012.00346.x. 
  • Whittaker, Andrea, and Amy Speier. “‘Cycling Overseas’: Care, Commodification, and Stratification in Cross-Border Reproductive Travel.” Medical Anthropology 29, no. 4 (2010): 363–83. doi:10.1080/01459740.2010.501313.

Monday, 17 August 2015

CFP: Migration and intergenerational relations in Southeast Asia

Migration and intergenerational relations in Southeast Asia panel
Southeast Asian Studies Symposium 2016
University of Oxford, 14-16 April 2016

Chair: Pia M Jolliffe (University of Oxford)

Southeast Asia is very diverse. The eleven Southeast Asian countries vary in historical, socio- cultural and political economic experiences. Yet, in spite of this diversity the region faces shared demographic challenges related to migration and intergenerational relations, in particular changing patterns of traditional family life, marriage and childbearing, ageing populations and migration for education and work.

Already in pre-modern Southeast Asia migration shaped demographic landscapes within and between the realms of kings, landlords, sultans and other local political authorities. Movements of persons were structured according to household and market demands. Children and youth, especially boys, migrated for education between their family homes and locations of learning such as Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques. Also marriage was a frequent reason for men and women to migrate out of their parternal home into the household of their in-laws. Of course, marriage always has socio-cultural and political-economic meanings as it establishes relations between households, village communities or even larger political entities. Trade and commerce, too, asked individuals to migrate between different areas in mainland and insular Southeast Asia. Pre-modern Southeast Asia was a also a destination for migrants from Europe, such as mercants, mercenaries and Christian missionaries from Portugal or Italy. These movements, too, impacted on the intergenerational relations between those who travelled and those who remained behind. Colonialism and the formation of modern centralized states strongly impacted on the political economy of Southeast Asia and the region ́s interdependence with global markets and other modern institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations etc. In this context, modern notions of citizenship, national security and border control create new inequalities between and among peoples in different areas of Southeast Asia. These developments have implications for intergenerational relations.

This panel aims at bringing together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds 1. to explore the historical and contemporary dynamics that shape migration in Southeast Asia and 2. to relate these socio-cultural and political-economic processes to intergenerational relations. In this way, panel participants will illuminate how different patterns of migration shape intergenerational relations at different times and places in history on local, regional and international levels. Panel participants are encouraged to publish their papers, for example as chapters in a contributed volume edited by the Chair.

Please submit an abstract of ca. 250 words by 12 September 2015 to

Saturday, 1 August 2015

New book: Current Issues and Emerging Trends in Medical Tourism (Cooper, Vafadari and Hieda, eds, 2015)

Current Issues and Emerging Trends in Medical Tourism

Saturday, 11 July 2015

New article: 'Policy implications of medical tourism development in destination countries' in Globalization and Health

Following on our 2012 research collaboration in the Caribbean, Rory Johnston and Valorie Crooks (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and I have recently published an article that draws on our findings in Jamaica in order to revisit and build on Pocock and Phua's framework for identifying policy implication of medical tourism development in destination countries:

Johnston, R., Crooks, V.A. and Ormond, M. (2015) ‘Policy implications of medical tourism development in destination countries: Revisiting and revising an existing framework by examining the case of Jamaica’, Globalization and Health, 11(29)doi:10.1186/s12992-015-0113-0.

Background: Medical tourism is now targeted by many hospitals and governments worldwide for further growth and investment. Southeast Asia provides what is perhaps the best documented example of medical tourism development and promotion on a regional scale, but interest in the practice is growing in locations where it is not yet established. Numerous governments and private hospitals in the Caribbean have recently identified medical tourism as a priority for economic development. We explore here the projects, activities, and outlooks surrounding medical tourism and their anticipated economic and health sector policy implications in the Caribbean country of Jamaica. Specifically, we apply Pocock and Phua’s previously-published conceptual framework of policy implications raised by medical tourism to explore its relevance in this new context and to identify additional considerations raised by the Jamaican context.
Methods: Employing case study methodology, we conducted six weeks of qualitative fieldwork in Jamaica between October 2012 and July 2013. Semi-structured interviews with health, tourism, and trade sector stakeholders, on-site visits to health and tourism infrastructure, and reflexive journaling were all used to collect a comprehensive dataset of how medical tourism in Jamaica is being developed. Our analytic strategy involved organizing our data within Pocock and Phua’s framework to identify overlapping and divergent issues.
Results: Many of the issues identified in Pocock and Phua’s policy implications framework are echoed in the planning and development of medical tourism in Jamaica. However, a number of additional implications, such as the involvement of international development agencies in facilitating interest in the sector, cyclical mobility of international health human resources, and the significance of health insurance portability in driving the growth of international hospital accreditation, arise from this new context and further enrich the original framework.
Conclusions: The framework developed by Pocock and Phua is a flexible common reference point with which to document issues raised by medical tourism in established and emerging destinations. However, the framework’s design does not lend itself to explaining how the underlying health system factors it identifies work to facilitate medical tourism’s development or how the specific impacts of the practice are likely to unfold.
Keywords: Jamaica; Medical tourism; Health services; Health policy; Qualitative methods; International medical travel; Trade in health services; Caribbean 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wageningen University's Science Shop study for SailWise - Disability and accessible outdoor leisure and tourism

People with disabilities face specific challenges to accessing and participating in outdoor leisure and tourism activities. However, societies throughout the world are starting to recognise the importance of creating not only equal opportunities for access and participation but also opportunities specifically catering to the needs, concerns and interests of people with disabilities. For over 40 years, the Dutch non-profit organisation, SailWise, for example, has offered people with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to engage in sailing activities in the Netherlands. Its goal is to help people with a diverse range of disabilities engage in outdoor sports and leisure activities, giving them the opportunity to have fun which challenging themselves physically and mentally in a safe, social and relaxed setting that is both financially and physically accessible to participants and their families. 

SailWise has approached Wageningen University’s Science Shop for assistance with i) optimising supply and demand for the outdoor activities it offers, ii) sustaining and improving the organisation’s operations and iii) improving its communication with prospective participants, volunteers, sponsors and other practitioners in the rapidly developing ‘accessible tourism’ sector. The project, led by Dr Francien de Jonge for Wageningen University’s Science Shop, will run until late 2016 and is comprised of several smaller projects. Two small projects have been completed by MSc and BSc students in June 2015, and there will be additional MSc thesis opportunities for interested students in 2016 (see below).

MSc supervision opportunities
Dr Meghann Ormond (GEO) and Dr Lenneke Vaandrager (HSO) contribute to the Sail Wise Science Shop project, and they are looking for MSc thesis students who would like to contribute to this project starting in February 2016. Students would be co-supervised by Dr Ormond and Dr Vaandrager. We are looking for 2 students, one MLE student and one MCS (Health and Society) student who are encouraged to get involved in this project in order to help shed light on issues like: i) why certain populations may or may not be interested joining a SailWise excursion, ii) who SailWise is currently targeting as prospective participants and who they might be missing out on, iii) what are participants’ expectations and experiences prior to, during and after their excursions, and iv) how best these expectations and experiences can be translated into improved practices within Sail Wise and communicated to a wider range of audiences. These two students will closely work together, but will have their own specific research (based on their own interests). For further details, contact meghann.ormond (at) or lenneke.vaandrager (at)

Useful references on accessible outdoor leisure and tourism 
Aitchison, C. (2003). From leisure and disability to disability leisure: Developing data, definitions and discourses. Disability & Society, 18(7), 955-969.
Aitchison, C., 2003. Venturing into other territories: Reflections on theoretical journeys of social and cultural exclusion in outdoor environments. In: B. Humberstone, H. Brown & K. Richards, eds. Whose Journeys?. Barrow-in-Furness: The Institute for Outdoor Learning, pp. 19-31.
Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unraveling the mystery of health: How people manage stress and stay well. San Francisco, London: Jossey-Bass.
Bartholomew, K .J., Ntoumanis, N., Ryan, R. M., Bosch, J. A. & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2011). Self-determination theory and diminished functioning: The role of interpersonal control and psychological need thwarting. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 37(11), 1459-1473.
Bartlett, R., 2012. Modifying the diary interview method to research the lives of people with dementia. Advancing qualitative methods, 22(12), pp. 1717-1724.
Beart, S. et al., 2001. Barriers to accessing leisure opportunities for people with learning disabilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, Issue 29, pp. 133-138.
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