HERA-Research: Access to Healthcare in Europe

Professor Dr. Florian Steger presents the Project Health Care as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Health Care in Europe within the Framework Programme Humanities and Social Sciences of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The whole text of the interview can be accessed here.


Online public lecture within the research project Health Care as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Health Care in Europe:

Intercultural Opening in Health-Related Services on the Example of the LVR Clinic Cologne

lecturer: Dr. Ali Kemal Gün

In his lecture, Dr. Ali Kemal Gün focused on the topic of intercultural competence in healthcare in Germany with particular attention to the activities undertaken within the LVR Clinic Cologne.

In view of demographic developments in Germany, the intercultural opening of healthcare service structures is a challenge for society as a whole and a timely necessity.
The intercultural opening is a consciously designed process that enables people from different cultures, ethnic groups, and religions to have equal access to healthcare services. It ensures equal quality in counseling, care, and treatment.
In order to make utilization of healthcare service efficient and to break down access barriers to it, the intercultural opening must be pursued and promoted consistently, unambiguously, and consciously. Otherwise, it is neither possible to lower the access barriers to these services nor to improve the intercultural competence of the professional staff. Therefore, the intercultural opening must become an indispensable part of the organizational culture and include a comprehensive strategic approach.


Online public lectures within the research project Health Care as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Health Care in Europe:

Gender, gender identity, gender role, sexual orientation - meaning of terms
lecturer: Assistant professor Goran Arbanas, PhD, MD

An approach to working with transgender people from the perspective of a clinical psychologist
lecturer: Iva Žegura, M.Sc. spec. psych.

Public lectures were held via the Zoom platform on Thursday, December 16, 2021, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

About 250 health workers and other experts within the health system, social welfare system and civil society organizations aimed at protecting the rights of LGBTIQ + persons and other interested citizens participated.
Assistant Professor Goran Arbanas, PhD, MD, spoke about the concepts of gender, gender identity, gender role and sexual orientation, and the differences in the meaning of these concepts, explaining them from a medical perspective. His interesting and visually somewhat provocative presentation encouraged the lecture participants to ask a number of questions.
Iva Žegura, M.Sc. spec. psych., focused on the transgender population, bringing the listeners closer to the concepts of transgenderism, gender transition, minority stress and affirmative approach, gender dysphoria, multicultural approach, etc. She presented the standards of care of the World Professional Organization for Transgender Health and guidelines of the European Professional Association for Transgender Health. Participants' questions showed great interest in this topic, as well as the need for additional training for better, interdisciplinary, practice of professionals in the health and social care system.

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SEPTEMBER, 13.-16., 2021

Robert Doričić, PhD, participated at First MUNA (Mediterranean and Middle East University Network Agreement) Summer School (online) organized by University Federico II Naples, Italy.

He gave a presentation showing some of the results of the research project Health Care as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Health Care in Europe. In his presentation Access to healthcare for vulnerable groups: Croatian perspective he focused on the issue of (non) existence of discrimination against individuals in access to health care for members of vulnerable groups in Croatian society.

May 25th 2021, online

Invited lecture for HERA, Humanities in the European Research Area, Irish Research Counsel

Prof. Dr. Mojca Ramšak: Healthcare as a public space: Exploring new digital worlds. Field research challenges in pandemic time

April 19th 2021 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Public lecture at the  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine, Institute for History of Medicine

Assit. Prof. Dr. Erika Zelko (General Medicine Specialist, Faculty of Medicine Marivbor, Public Health Center Ljubljana): Roma in Prekmurje ten years later

Health systems overall in the world are becoming increasingly complex, so functional health systems that provide high-quality services are among the priorities of governments. Ten years after the first study we asked Roma representatives to determine their attitudes towards the healthcare system and estimate how challenging is the system for them now. We conducted 23 interviews with Roma representatives per phone and determined five logical categories that explain the attitudes of the Roma towards health, satisfaction, problems and prospects and the functioning of the health system on the local level. These are: experiences with the healthcare system, personal healthcare, patient -physician relationship, barriers to access the healthcare system and cultural sensitivity. Roma people are a part of changes in the society and have also witnessed the adaption of the healthcare system during the epidemic times. Mostly they are very satisfied with the changes and manage the challenges in the healthcare system well, but their also recognize new barriers to face with, like low health literacy and need of Roma mediators to be included. Dr. Zelko will present the results of the research project and Roma community in Prekmurje.

Seminar "Health and the idea of equality"

The purpose of the seminar is an in-depth analysis of issues related to equality, diversity and discrimination in the area of the right to health, the right to health protection and the right to access to health care. In this edition, special attention will be devoted to the issue of equal access to health care: philosophical analysis of the concept of accessibility and ethical issues related to it; legal guarantees of equal access and barriers in this area, especially those experienced by groups particularly vulnerable to exclusion and discrimination; social movements for health equality, in particular access to health care.

The seminar is providing interdisciplinary perspective and will consist of three thematic blocks: 1) philosophical (the concept of equal access to health care in the context of the concepts of justice and equality, related ethical issues); 2) legal and political sciences (European and national legal regulations on equal access to health care); 3) the sociological and anthropological (the use of qualitative methods for research on barriers in access to healthcare experienced by various social groups: women, migrants, persons with disabilities, representatives of sexual, religious, ethnic and cultural minorities; analysis of selected social movements for health and equitable access to health care).

The seminar is related to the project Healthcare as a Public Space. Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Healthcare in Europe (National Science Center: HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) - Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe; Research funding program scientific and innovation of the European Union „Horizon 2020”).

Website of the seminar

November 26th 2020 Rijeka, Croatia

Online public lecture

Assistant Professor Dalida Rittossa, PhD (Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka, Croatia): Domestic Violence in the Age of Covid – 19 - The Role of the Health System in Protecting the Most Vulnerable

The results of the first research on Covid-19 disease as a criminological factor showed that home is not a safe place for children and victims of domestic violence. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), domestic violence increased by 20% during the lockdown. If the spring scenario were to repeat, the first 3 months of a ban on leaving home would lead to a steep rise in domestic violence by an additional 15 million cases.
Assistant Professor Rittossa described the characteristics of domestic violence and the view of the Croatian legislator on this phenomenon. She also stressed the importance of providing victims of domestic violence with access to the existing system of support and protection of their rights during the Covid-19 crisis, where the role of health professionals is crucial.
During the online public lecture, the data of the conducted pilot study between the employees of the associations "Center for Nonviolence and Human Rights - SOS Rijeka" and "U.Z.O.R. - Association for the Protection of the Family of Rijeka" and their users were presented. The study aimed to determine whether persons who have been subjected to domestic violence turn to doctors and other health professionals. Based on the preliminary results of this and other related research, an upgrade of the system for the protection of the rights of vulnerable victims during a pandemic will be proposed.
The online public lecture was attended by health professionals, social workers, and other interested public.

Members of the Croatian project group, Ivana Tutić Grokša and Robert Doričić, and Assistant Professor Rittossa, were guests on the show Planet Ri on Kanal Ri. The HERA project was presented there.

March 23rd 2020 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Public lecture at the  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine, Institute for History of Medicine

MD Ines Gumilar (Specialist in Family Medicine, Gornja Radgona Public Health Center): ‚Pro Bono' Clinics in Slovenia

The term “pro bono publico” (abbreviated “pro bono”) derives from Latin and means good to the people. It is a professional, voluntary unpaid work in different fields providing specific services to those people who cannot afford it. In 2020 Slovenia has 7 pro bono clinics for people with no health insurance, mostly from marginalized and vulnerable groups such as migrants, homeless people, the elderly, illicit drug users, the unemployed, people with mental health problems, the Roma, the self-employed, people with precarious, employment and people with various forms of disability. The lecturer presented the history and characteristics of the pro bono clinics and the collaboration with general practitioners.

March 4th and 5th 2020 Warsaw, Poland

International Conference at the University of Warsaw, Faculty of History, Column Hall

Legal regulations on diversity in healthcare in European countries: challenges for national legislation

Healthcare, understood as a medical space, is an excellent example of a public space that models the processes of social integration and social equity. In a general sense, healthcare can connect diverse groups of a society under the common idea of health and illness. However, depending on its organization, it can also influence societal segregation of minority groups. Although the issues of minorities’ equality are central to European Institutions, European guidelines are mostly still not observed in the national legal regulations and healthcare practice.

The Conference intends to examine the implementation of norms and guidelines of the European Institutions concerning diversity and ethical, cultural, and social aspects of integration and exclusion within the healthcare sector in national legal frameworks of Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and Poland.

The Conference is held in the scope of the project HERA: Public Spaces. Culture and Integration in Europe (2019-2022) – „Healthcare as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Healthcare in Europe.” This project has received funding frm the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Website of the Conference

November 11th 2019 Ulm, Germany

Workshop at the Institute of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine, Ulm University:

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and mobile device applications in healthcare – chances for the access to healthcare in a diverse society

The developments in the sector of e-health offer substantial opportunities for healthcare, such as securing and improving the medical and nursing provision. Yet, Artificial Intelligence in healthcare is not a vision for the future, it is already used in everyday practice. The aim of the workshop was to point out in which way Artificial Intelligence and mobile device applications are used in healthcare practice, which projects are planed and which opportunities this might provide for access to healthcare in diverse society. Experts from different fields like psychotherapy, information technology and geriatrics highlighted applications and possibilities but also raised ethical questions.

September 22nd 2019 Warsaw, Poland

Public lecture at the University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy

Prof. Magdalena Środa, PhD (University of Warsaw): Health – accessible for everyone?

The right to health protection is a human right. The Constitution of the Republic of Poland guarantees all citizens "equal access to health care services, financed from public funds, shall be ensured by public authorities to citizens, irrespective of their material situation”. Equity in this respect is protected by EU regulations. However, in practice, women, representatives of sexual, religious and cultural minorities, and migrants still face unequal treatment and discrimination in their contacts with healthcare institutions. During the public lecture, Prof. Magdalena Środa, PhD, from University of Warsaw talked about forms of discrimination in access to healthcare. The lecture was followed by a discussion panel with the participation of Prof. Paweł Łuków, Katarzyna Bielińska, PhD, and Anna Chowaniec, MA. The lecture was included in the set of events of Festival of Science.

September 5th and 6th 2019 Rijeka, Croatia

International Conference at the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities:

Healthcare as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Healthcare in Europe

Poster Public Lecture Rijeka

September 3rd 2019 Rijeka, Croatia

Public lecture at the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine

Prof. Dr. (TR) Dr. phil. et med habil. İlhan İlkiliç (Chair Dep. of History of Medicine and Ethics, Istanbul University Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul / Capa, Turkey):

Ethical Issues of Interculturality in Healthcare

In multicultural societies, encounters between doctors and patients from different cultural backgrounds are an everyday occurrence. Thus, depending on the cultural understanding there may be divergent assessments of the disease value of a given condition,the degree of suffering, and therapeutic goal. Intercultural doctor-patient conflicts arising out of different value systems to which the actors subscribe cover a broad spectrum involving various problems and complexities, depending on the specific issues at stake. The lecture expounded communication barriers, cultural practices and moral diversity in intercultural setting with regard to their ethical implications and reflected on intercultural physician-patient relationship and analyse some ethical concepts, which might help to legitimate our medical ethical decisions in a value pluralistic society.

May 31st – June 2nd 2019, Ljubljana, Slovenia

First Joint Research Meeting of HERA Project Researchers, Institute for History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana:

Healthcare as a Public Space: Social Integration and Social Diversity in the Context of Access to Healthcare in Europe

Organised by: Prof. Zvonka Zupanič-Slavec, MD, PhD, and Prof. Mojca Ramšak, PhD

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