Ramazan Salman

Ethno-Medical Centre Association
Year founded: 


As a centre of excellence for health and social integration, EMC helps migrants navigate the German and international health and education systems. Based on MiMi, a key technology for social integration, EMC promotes health literacy and capacity building through health education, mediator training, campaigning and research.

Focus: Health, Education, Migration, Capacity Building
Geographic Area of Impact: Germany, Europe
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 44,600 (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 1.6 million (2010)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 8.27% (2010)
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Germany, 2008

About 16 million (19% of Germany’s population) and over 500 million people in the world have an immigrant background. Between 2001 and 2010, 5.5 million people, mainly former third-country nationals, acquired citizenship of an EU member state. Compared to host populations, immigrants have higher rates of poverty and ill health, and are disproportionately affected by accidents and disease such as obesity, diabetes, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, migrants and refugees are less informed about health systems, healthy lifestyles, therapies and prevention.

Health and education are essential for integration and social inclusion of migrants in societies, yet healthcare services and education are not always accessible to everyone. This is due not only to language, information or cultural barriers, but also to a lack of professionals trained to deal with the special needs of individual migrant groups. EMC was founded to address these problems by developing MiMi (With Migrants For Migrants–Health and Education for All) as a key technology to rectify these issues.

Innovation and Activities
The Ethno-Medical Centre (Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum) makes healthcare and education systems more accessible to migrants and refugees, increasing health literacy and engaging them in a participatory process of capacity building. It assists migrants and refugees in navigating the national health system, promotes education for healthy lifestyles and connects migrants with statutory healthcare and education systems.

The core of EMC is the MiMi Programme for health education and campaigning, conducted in +15 languages, and adopted in 57 German cities as well as Copenhagen, Tallinn, London, Rome, Istanbul and Brussels. Around 1,800 migrants from 85 countries have been trained as transcultural mediators, who then support those less well-integrated, in areas like medication use, alcohol consumption, children's health, pregnancy, family planning, AIDS/HIV prevention, mental health and vaccination. MiMi's Health Guide publications orient migrants by providing information on health systems, diseases and healthy lifestyles. All MiMi activities are evaluated by scientific studies, conducted in cooperation with universities and the WHO.

EMC offers migrants a MiMi financial literacy programme, and MiMi technology has been adapted for the corporate sector as a model of “Health at the Workplace”. MiMi results in positive/sustainable effects on groups and institutions involved in its inter-sectoral approach, migrants are motivated/empowered, and the native population sees migrants as active members of society.

The Entrepreneur
Born in Turkey in 1960, Ramazan Salman grew up in Hanover after his family emigrated to Germany. He studied sociology and psychology and worked as an interpreter for his migrant community. Impressed by the lack of information on healthcare, disease, therapies and civil rights, he became dedicated to eliminating language and cultural barriers. Since 1992 he has served as co-Founder and Executive MD of EMC in Germany. He is a member of the Integration Summit at the Federal Chancellery of Germany, the European Council’s Committee of Experts on Mobility, Migration and Access to Health Care, and has served as a programme director of AIDS and Mobility Europe since 2008. His awards include: 2008 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation; German Federal Cross of Merit, 2009; and in Germany, the Future Award, Sustainability Award, Quality Award, Prevention Award, Social Entrepreneur (Ashoka, 2006). He is a lecturer at European universities and an editor of numerous books on migration, health and integration.