Henry Ascher


School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Visiting address
Medicinaregatan 18A
41390 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 469
40530 Göteborg

About Henry Ascher

My work focuses on social differences in health and ill health and how to reduce it. A particular interest is migration and health, with a special focus on children and families. My work is about health promotion, both individually, by strengthening the resources of children and adults, and structurally by studying barriers and changing structures. Human rights, children's rights, the right to health and a focus on participation are other interests that also permeates my research. In the research project Undocumented Children's Everyday Strategies, we have followed undocumented children over time to explore different strategies for dealing with an everyday life that is permanently dangerous and threatening. What strategies work? How do these relate to age and development? What are the threats to children's health, well-being and development and how can they change? How can adults around the children work to support them? Are there lessons learned from this group of children that are valid for other children who live with well-protected secrets, such as children who live with parents with abuse or who are mentally ill? The study uses qualitative methodology with a high degree of user influence in accordance with a Convention on the Rights of the Child. Schoolchildren (6-18 years) are included. The study has grants from the Allmänna Barnhuset Foundation and the Västra Götaland Region. The research project Health and ill health of undocumented migrants is a survey study of undocumented migrants about self-perceived health, living conditions and access to human rights, which is carried out in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. As research on the situation of the undocumented migrants is very limited and usually consists of smaller interview-based studies, this study fills an important gap in order to increase the knowledge of a hidden group with potential major health needs. The study was designed in consultation with people who are or have been undocumented and is done with the support of the Swedish Research Council and the Västra Götaland Region.

Examples of other areas I work with are studies on undocumented women's experiences of maternal health care and childbirth, unaccompanied children and adolescents, age assessments, children with severe withdrawal syndrome, vulnerable groups' access to care and child abuse and neglect.

The project ‘Socio-economic determinants of health and physical growth of children from birth to five years in rural and urban areas of Hanoi’ is a completed research project in collaboration with Hanoi Medical University that followed two cohorts of pregnant women in Vietnam, one in urban environment and one in rural areas. Birth outcomes as well as children's growth and health were monitored over time and related to socio-economic factors and utilization of care. The project led to three doctoral dissertations. In the last dissertation, the prevalence and risk factors for obesity and obesity were examined in relation to socio-economic factors and urbanization. My research work is conducted in collaboration with Angered Hospital’s Research Unit, where I also participate in the hospital's work on human rights as a tool for reducing socially inequality in health. I am a professor of public health and an associate professor and consultant in paediatrics. I work clinically at the Child Refugee Team in Gothenburg, am vice chairman of the Swedish Pediatric Society’s Association for Global Child and Adolescent Health ( I have had assignments for e.g. the National Board of Health and Welfare, Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU), The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) and the Discrimination Ombudsman. I am also a jury member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest children's and youth literature award (