Fellow Since 2006
Ethnomedizinisches Zentrum Hannover
This profile was prepared when Ramazan Salman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Ramazan chose health as a focal point for immigrant integration because it is central to the process of immigration, a precondition for its success. He has built a system in Germany using successful immigrants as bridges between the German health system and immigrant communities. These networks thrive on open dialogue and help immigrants to overcome isolation, depression, cultural barriers and mistrust. More importantly, he assists them in understanding their rights in the German health system. Key to Ramazan’s vehicle to pursue his vision of integration is an "ethnomedical center," which he founded in Hanover in 1990 while studying sociology and medicine. At the core of this center is a system of nationwide networks called MiMi (migrants for migrants) that are led by successful immigrants who have mastered living in Germany and, in turn, reach out to assist other immigrants. This model encourages dialogue around health, immigrant rights, access to institutions and the appropriate wording to initiate talks about health and other integration issues—as they may be sensitive and personal conversations.These networks also provide training by immigrants to teach and enable German medical personnel to adequately attend their immigrant clientele. To avoid a parallel migrant-only health care service, Ramazan connects Germans with immigrants to provide equal access to excellent health care.