Transnational Health Care

A Cross-Border Symposium

An international event co-sponsored by the Academy for Tourism at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences (NL), the Cultural Geography Chair Group at Wageningen University (NL), the Economic and Social Research Council – ESRC (UK), and the University of Leeds (UK)

At a moment in which the provision and regulation of health care within national boundaries is profoundly shifting, the growing numbers of people going abroad in pursuit of health care mean that the social, political and economic significance and impacts of these flows at a range of levels cannot be ignored. This symposium provides those involved in cutting-edge empirical and conceptual studies of the transnational pursuit and provision of medical care the opportunity to share their work, explore emerging research agendas and to encourage and foster future research collaborations.

Regions and development

20-21 June 2013, held at Wageningen University, The Netherlands

While thinking ‘regionally’ beyond borders is well-established in economic development discourses and practices, studies of health care have long been restricted to the confines of ‘methodological nationalism’. Yet several recent initiatives – such as the recent European Union directive on patient mobility, the harnessing of cross-border patient flows between Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states, and budding joint promotion of the Caribbean region as a medical travel destination – have specifically demonstrated the relevance of the transnational region relative to emerging post-national understandings of supply, demand and responsibility in health care.

In recognition of the array of initiatives around the world that challenge and move beyond attempts at self-sufficiency in health care at the national level, this workshop seeks to draw attention to the breadth of regional capacity-building, forms of governance, relations and identities forged through the international pursuit and provision of medical care. The workshop specifically focuses on exploring the link between transnational health care and regional development, produced through both higher-profile, long-distance pursuits of medical tourists and more ‘everyday’ cross-border and intra-regional health-motivated movements.

Itineraries and Transformations

25-26 June 2013, held at University of Leeds, UK

This workshop will bring together key researchers in the emerging interdisciplinary field of medical tourism studies, to explore experiences of medical tourism and mappings of the industry. Drawing together diverse empirical studies with emerging theoretical frameworks, the workshop will facilitate dialogue and focused discussion, enabling empirical scaling-up, data comparison, theoretical developments, methodological conversations – in short, to establish the priorities and agendas for the vital shared project of empirically and conceptually investigating the multi-scalar relational geographies, from the level of the macro/national to the local/embodied, currently transforming policies, economies, professions and patient experiences of medical travel. This event will also launch the findings of a large, multi-site, ESRC-funded research project on cosmetic surgery tourism, as well as reporting progress on other large medical tourism studies in the UK, Canada and beyond.

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