The aim of PH-LENS is first to gain new insights into small-scale influences on health, i.e. those influences from the physical and social environment which result from the subgroup’s neighborhood and which affect the individual. Second to investigate different health system factors and specific health care structures that are perceived as challenges in relation to forced migration.
In our research unit we want to use a theoretical link between contextual and institutional factors, which in their interaction in different areas of health care and socio-spatial environment condense into an accumulation of disadvantages – this theoretical link provides the Othering concept in our research group.
Othering offers a productive research perspective in investigating the link between minority status and health inequalities.
Othering refers to the social construction of certain groups as "others". It is a complex phenomenon that entails processes of categorization, i.e. the distinction between "us" and "them". Othering reproduces power hierarchies, leads to social exclusion and generates health-related inequalities. The PH-LENS research group uses Othering as a theoretical link to develop an interdisciplinary perspective that makes a significant contribution to public health. For this purpose, the research group follows an intersectional approach. This helps us in all PH-LENS subprojects to identify the combinations of factors that interlock to create specific disadvantaged situations. It is also the crucial approach to apply the lens function in the research of the research group.
The lens function is a core aspect in the investigations of the PH-LENS Research Unit.
Challenges in refugee health can serve as a lens for broader challenges in population health. This is because health risks and exposures of refugees mirror those of other disadvantaged groups, albeit often to a more extreme degree. This lens function allows us to draw conclusions that are not only relevant for improving the health of refugees but can also be applied to broader segments of society.
PH-LENS is an interdisciplinary research group of various participating institutions.