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Institute for Global Health and Development - Staff Profiles

Dr Alison B Strang, Senior Research Fellow, IGHD

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Areas of interest

  • Psychosocial well-being in fragile environments
  • Local capacity building and professional development
  • Networking
  • Refugee integration and social cohesion


Alison Strang is a psychologist, whose work has spanned the fields of education, training and health - generally focusing on the needs of marginalised groups. She is involved in applied research concerning the psychosocial consequences of conflict and disaster and the humanitarian response to health provision, education and community development. Alison has worked with communities affected by conflict and disaster in the Balkans, Palestine and South Asia. She has been working closely with local colleagues in Sri Lanka to support psychosocial professional capacity building following the Asian tsunami. She has also pursued global concerns in policy and practice. From 2000 to 2006 she coordinated the ‘Psychosocial Working Group’ (an international consortium of leading humanitarian organisations and academic institutions set up to clarify the agenda for the field). Since 2006 she has brought together an international team to set up and lead the ‘Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network’ a global platform for connecting people, networks and organizations, for sharing resources and for building knowledge related to mental health and psychosocial support both in emergency settings and in situations of chronic hardship which aspires to build and shape good practice (

From 2001 Alison undertook the ‘Indicators of Integration’ research programme on behalf of the UK government and continues to explore the dynamics of community integration with asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland, the UK and across the world. Subsequent research has used the framework to examine refugee integration both cross culturally and longitudinally. Currently Alison is leading a research programme developing tools for measuring community and individual social connection using participatory approaches that have cross cultural validity and can be used to generate data for communities, researchers and policy makers ( She is involved in working closely with service providers, community groups and policy makers, particularly in Scotland to support work with refugees and asylum seekers in a advisory capacity to the Scottish Refugee Council and through research and consultancy. Alison currently chairs ‘Refugees in Scottish Communities’, the Scottish Government led review of refugee integration policy and practice.



The Holistic Integration Service, a partnership led by the Scottish Refugee Council and funded by BigLottery, has been available to all new refugees in Scotland between 2013 and 2016. The design of the service was modelled on research undertaken at IGHD to identify ‘Indicators of Integration’ (Ager & Strang, 2008) and has provided new refugees with advice and advocacy, along with direct access to personal support, language classes and employability support appropriate to each person’s needs. The IGHD team Dr Alison Strang, Ruth Marsden and Helen Baillot have led a learning team to generate comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data recording experiences related to integration progression. Three reports are now available documenting the development of the programme model, and the integration experiences of nearly 2000 refugee households who accessed the service and each includes recommendations for a range of stakeholders.

The Holistic Integration Service. Learning and Evaluation. Year 1: 2013 - 2014

This report documents the design and set up of the service and the evaluation of the partnership.

Insights into Integration Pathways. New Scots and the Holistic Integration Service. 2015

This report presents data on refugees experiences of access to rights and services; acquisition of knowledge, skills and employment and health and wellbeing.

Rights, Resilience and Refugee Integration in Scotland. New Scots and the Holistic Integration Service. 2016

This report brings together data from case records, focus groups and interviews with refugees themselves and internal and external stakeholders to examine the Holistic Integration Service model; refugees experiences of accessing rights, use of the English language, making social connections and building independence.


Key publications

Strang , A. & Ager, A. (2010) Refugee integration: Emerging trends and remaining agendas. Journal of Refugee Studies Vol. 23, 4,pp589-607.

Horn, R & Strang, A (2008) A Kenyan Case Study: The Implementation of the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. In Intervention 6,3/4, pp 294-297. 

Horn, R & Strang, A (2008) A Jordanian Case Study: The Implementation of the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. In Intervention 6,3/4, pp 291-293.

Ager, A; Strang, A; O’May, F & Garner, P, (2002), A conceptual analysis of refugee integration. Report to IRSS Home Office, Croydon.

Strang A & Ager A (2003) Psychosocial interventions; some key issues facing practitioners. In Intervention v1,3, pp2-12.

Ager, A & Strang, A, (2004a), The experience of integration:A qualitative study of refugee integration in the local communities of Pollokshaws and Islington. Report to IRSS Home Office, Croydon.

Ager, A & Strang, A, (2004b), Indicators of Integration. A Home Office Development and Practice Report. Communication Development Unit, Room 264, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AT.

Strang A & Ager A (2005) Psychosocial interventions; Key issues facing practitioners. In Friedman, M J & Mikus-Kos, A (eds) Promoting the Psychosocial Well Being of Children following War and Terrorism. NATO Security through Science Series E: Human and Societal Dynamics – Vol. 4. IOS Press

Boothby, N, Wessells, M & Strang, A, (forthcoming) A World Turned Upside Down: The Social Ecologies of Children Affected by Conflict. Kumarian Press, New York.

Wessells, M & Strang, A (forthcoming) Religion as resource and risk: The double–edged sword for children in situations of armed conflict. In Boothby, N, Wessells, M & Strang, A (eds.) A World Turned Upside Down: The Social Ecologies of Children Affected by Conflict. Kumarian Press, New York.




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