'Health, ageing and a hostile hospitality: Understanding asylum applicants’ narratives of life, health and ageing in the UK'
My thesis sits at the nexus of three important contemporary issues: health, migration and ageing. A growing literature problematises the UK’s current, restrictive approach to immigration, whilst concurrent studies in health research increasingly recognise that exile environments serve as a determinant of long-term health for displaced people.
With its theoretical roots in critical medical anthropology, my PhD research asks how forced transnational migration impacts the health of older asylum applicants. Semi-structured interviews with middle-aged and older asylum applicants in Greater Manchester were conducted between August 2017 and June 2018. Drawing on narrative analysis, I explore how these asylum applicants speak about health in relation to lived migratory experiences.
I also work collaboratively with clinicians and researchers in other schools, exploring issues of migration and health.
- Professor Bertrand Taithe - (Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute - Professor of Cultural History)
- Dr Rubina Jasani - (Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute - Lecturer in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response)
- Professor Neil Pendleton - (The University of Manchester - Professor of Medical Gerontology)
I am interested in the broad research domains of health, ageing and migration, particularly forced transnational migration. Specifically, I am interested in health inequalities, and seek to undertake research which challenges and disrupts the policies and practices that produce and maintain inequality.
- Global health
- Migration and health
I am a medical doctor with 10 years' postgraduate experience in the profession. I have sub-specialised in Geriatric Medicine, enjoying the holistic and wide-ranging practice this speciality encourages. I have an interest in health inequalities. I have spent time working in Malawi and India and have a MA with distinction in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response. Additionally, I work as a volunteer Medico-Legal Report writer for Freedom from Torture and am an active part of Medact Manchester, group of healthcare professionals who campaign on issues of social justice.
- MBChB (Hons) University of Liverpool 2008
- MRCP (London) 2012
- MA (Dist) Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, The University of Manchester 2015
- PgDip Geriatric Medicine, University of Salford, 2015
Why I’m doing a PhD at HCRI
The HCRI is a warm, dynamic and forward thinking interdisciplinary institute. As a PhD researcher it offered the chance to expand my exploration of the social sciences and qualitative research in a supportive and stimulating environment.
Peer reviewed publications
Tomkow, L. (2018). The emergence and utilisation of frailty in the United Kingdom: a contemporary biopolitical practice. Ageing & Society, 1-18.
Cara Kang, Louise Tomkow, Rebecca Farrington. (2019). Access to primary health care for asylum seekers and refugees: a qualitative study of service user experiences in the UK. Br J Gen Pract 1bjgp 19X701309. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp19X701309
Lawton, K., Lee, A., Mahmood, N., Tickell-Painter, M., Pushkar, P., Squire, A., Tomkow, L., Wiggans, R., Whitehouse, E., Wilson, R. (2017). Healthcare professionals’ views and experiences of dealing with refugees and asylum seekers: a survey of North-West practitioners. Available at: https://medactmanchester.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/medact_report_2017.pdf
Blogs, short articles and news coverage
- Is primary healthcare a hostile environment? The barriers facing asylum seekers and refugees accessing general practitioners in the UK. Policy@Manchester blog.
- Taking action against immigration detention in the UK: Reflections on an evening symposium. Humanitarianism and Conflict Response student blogs.
- Research off the beaten track - Profiling Dr Louise Tomkow (login required). BGS Newsletter, Issue 64, January 2018.
- Don’t Blame The Immigrants: We Want To See Patients Not Passports. Huffington Post, 29 September 2017.
- Doctor or Border Guard. Manchester Migration Lab, University of Manchester, 17 October 2017.
- The ethical implications of charging immigrants for healthcare. Public Sector Focus, October 2017.
- A call to action in research, practice and everyday life: Reflections on the 1st World Congress on Migration Ethnicity Race and Health. Humanitarianism and Conflict Response ‘Student Blogs’ May 2018-11-09