Learning Across Boundaries (LABs)

Public Health and Refugees in Transition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

May 2019

A Summer LAB led by Dr. Kaveh Khoshnood (Yale School of Public Health) and Dr. Veena Pillai (Dhi Consulting & Training, KL)

Participants on this LAB will learn about the public health challenges faced by refugees and health professionals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia is a transitional country for refugees, with a total of 163,860 refugees registered with UNHCR as of December 2018 [Figures at a Glance, UNHCR Malaysia]. Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention nor its Protocol and does not have an organised asylum system regulating the status and rights of refugees. This absence of a legal framework is a source of great unpredictability in the lives of refugees in the country, including restricting their access to health services. This poses complex public health challenges that range from communicable diseases to child health. The LAB will examine these challenges from the health professionals’ perspective, as well as from the perspective of the refugee community. Students will visit UNHCR, refugee health clinics and refugee community-based organisations where they will have a chance to listen to and engage with the key stakeholders involved in these issues.

LAB DATES: Sunday, 19 May 2019 – Sunday, 26 May 2019


CO-PAY: S$200
Some need-based financial assistance will be available for students with demonstrated financial need. There will be a separate application for financial assistance after students are selected for the LAB.

PROGRAM PARTNERS: Dhi Consulting & Training

LAB DESCRIPTION: This LAB will use a combination of structured, site/community based and group learning to understand the public health challenges related to refugees in transition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Participants will learn to apply information gained during the program to projects targeted towards solutions and advocacy, and be able to:

  • Identify major public health challenges faced by refugees and health professional in a transitional migration setting
  • Describe the different methods of public health advocacy
  • Describe the ethics framework for humanitarian research
  • Describe barriers to healthcare and their consequences

Over the course of the LAB, participants will be divided into small groups, and allocated a topic and end product to work toward. These include:

Topics Possible End Products
Vaccination for Refugee Children

Challenges of Access to healthcare

TB and Media

Ethics of Research with Refugees

Mental health

Social Media strategy as Advocacy

Advocacy presentation

Photo story

Survey for future research project

Advocacy strategy


Have Questions?
Annette Wu
Executive, Experiential Learning

Contact with questions about travel fellowships and LABs.


To apply, please complete the following and submit to Annette Wu annette.wu@yale-nus.edu.sg by Sunday, 24 March 2019 at 11:59pm SGT. 

Please submit your application via email, using the subject header “Kuala Lumpur LAB Application”. Include personal information in the body of your email, and attach your statement of interest in a PDF document named “First Name_Last Name”.

Personal informationthis information will be kept confidential, and will only be used if you are selected for the LAB.

  • Name (as on passport)
  • Class (e.g. 2020, 2021, or 2022)
  • Yale-NUS College Email
  • Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • Passport issued by (country)
  • Passport number
  • Whatsapp number

Statement of interest: Why do you want to participate in this LAB and how will you use this experience to further your personal, academic, and/or professional goals? If you have prior experience in public health and migration studies, please feel free to include this in your statement of interest. (500 words maximum)