Globalization, international migration and urbanization are powerful transnational forces influencing global and local health in significant and contradictory ways. The arrival of a million refugees in Europe in recent years has focused global media attention on the health and plight of international migrants and the politics of international migration, largely casting transnational forces in global health in a negative light. Increasingly, calls for more effective health systems approaches fail to take into account accumulated experience or the changing context of globalization and its shaping of health care needs, markets and capacities.

Grounded in public health policy, economics, demography, history, law, and the practical application of systems thinking, the CUNY Center for Immigrant Refugee and Global Health (CIRGH) promotes the convergence of the diverse disciplines required to understand and build capacities to work across sectors and levels of organization in this globalizing context. The CIRGH focuses on practical approaches to reduce health inequities and provide a scholarly basis for the development of healthy urban centers, equitable access to health services and a deeper understanding of the linkages between the health of immigrant, refugee and migrant worker communities and the persistence of health disparities.