The photo was taken by Łukasz Pepol.

Elzbieta Czapka

PhD in Sociology, Master’s in Pedagogy,
researcher in migration and health.

Since I completed master’s degree, I have been involved in many science projects which have given me an opportunity to improve my research skills in  quantitative and qualitative methods.  My areas of expertise include the theories of migration, sociology of minorities, migration and health and care regimes.  I would like to continue my work on different dimensions of migrants’ integration into the health care systems in immigration countries and on the elderly care in multicultural societies.

I have always been active in international collaboration. From 2007 to 2011 I was a member of the Management Committee in COST Action ISO 603 “Home” (Health and Social Care of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Europe) and from 2011 to 2016 represented Poland in  the Management Committee in COST Action IS1103 “ADAPT” (Adapting European Health Systems to Diversity). I am a member of the European Sociological Association, Nordic Migration Network, Nordisk Demens Nettverk and European Network on Intercultural Elderly Care.

My personal strengths and competences include teaching, research, organizing workshops and conferences and dialog building between policy makers and researchers. I have excellent communication skills gained through my experiences as lecturer, researcher, local politician, vice-leader of a migrants’ organisation and tutor of student associations. 

Where do I come from?
Hel, Poland

I come from Hel, a town located on the tip of Poland’s Hel Peninsula with beautiful white sand beaches surrounded by the sea. At the age of two or three years old, I got my “self” and asked my mum to take me to a doctor, because. I could not stop thinking even though I was too young to know Descartes and his famous philosophical statement “cogito, ergo sum”. One of Poland’s  most popular holiday resorts, Hel has always attracted crowds of tourists, and therefore I grew up in an  atmosphere of diversity and curiosity about other people. I also learnt how to navigate between being an insider and outsider and would mingle with the  tourists and pretended to be one of them. Leaving Hel was extremely difficult for me, and since then I have never experienced so dramatically moving to a new place.  I remember most from Hel the horizon, that line that separates the sea from the sky, or the place where they both meet. When I was looking at it, I was thinking, “All is possible, nothing can stop me”.

What influenced me the most in my youth?
Pax Christi youth hostel, London, UK

I would have probably never become a sociologist and a researcher and be much poorer as a person, if I had not volunteered at Pax Christi youth hostel several times.  It was not an ordinary hostel but also a peace and justice project. Each year the hostel was run by a multinational team of fifteen volunteers from all over the world.  Different ethnic origins, religions, languages. I learnt that at the end of the day all those cultural differences did not matter so much. What mattered was the willingness and ability to make dinner for eighty people or courage to clean toilets. Each year the volunteers focused on a different theme related to peace and justice issues (e.g victims of consciousness, the media and the culture of peace). I promised myself not to die before I interviewed the hostel volunteers and write a book about our experiences.

Where did I start doing research in migration and health?
Nakmi (Norwegian Center for Minority Health Research), Oslo, Norway

During a meeting of COST Action “HOME” in Brussels, I was asked by a professor from Norway if I would like to work at NAKMI for three years. I answered in my way, “why not”. I had no idea how that decision would influence my work and life.
Nakmi’s work was about creating and promoting research-based knowledge about health and care for immigrants and their descendants in Norway. The primary target groups were decision-makers, health managers, health personnel, researchers and students.
Nakmi was not just a workplace but a dream team of people with different ethnic backgrounds fully committed to promoting good health and equal health services for people with immigrant backgrounds.

What is my newest inspiration?
ENIEC (European Network on Intercultural Elderly Care)

In 2017, I was asked by one of my colleagues to attend the ENIEC annual meeting in Pécs, Hungary. At some point she said, “You will like it, there is a tradition that one evening the ENIEC people dance”, and I felt convinced. People who dance can’t be boring, I thought. I was so right😊
ENIEC is not a scientific association. It is a personal network of professionals and volunteers who exchange ideas and share experiences in intercultural elderly care.
I am a researcher and the subject matter of my undertaken research was determined by both my scientific interests and current social problems. ENIEC inspired me to look for the possibility of implementing my research findings. I would like to use the knowledge I have generated to make a change for those who have participated in my studies and shared their experiences with me.

Hobbies and interests
  • Traveling
  • Dancing
  • Politics
  • Reading