Ivailo Tournev, Bulgaria

Nominated for his contribution to the improvement of health of disadvantaged Roma communities in Bulgaria and Europe.

Prof. Ivailo Tournev, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., has been working in the field of improvement of health of disadvantaged communities for the past 22 years, ensuring that vulnerable minorities have equal access to health care in Bulgaria. One of his key activities included development and institutionalization of the new occupation of the Roma Health Mediators as coordinating figures between health institutions and members of minority groups and communities.

He visited over 2,500 settlements with isolated Roma neighbourhoods. He carried out an intensive field work for more than three years. He performed ethnological and linguistic study in these settlements in order to differentiate the different Roma groups. As a volunteer, he carried out more than 20 000 medical examinations in Roma ghettos, in the homes of socially disadvantaged people, extremely poor and in extreme need. He has been also training medical students from the Roma community.

Ivailo Tournev is a Professor at the Department of Neurology of the Sofia Medical University and at the Department of Cognitive Science and Psychology of the New Bulgarian University. He is Master of Science in Public Health and Health Management. He is the Chairman of the Ethnic Minorities Health Problems Foundation and a Board member of National Network of Roma health mediators. He is a Board member of National Roma Coalition “Intellect” and a member of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues of the Council of Ministers. Prof. Tournev is an expert of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health in developing the Health Strategy for Disadvantaged Persons belonging to Ethnic Minorities and also a WHO expert on Roma health; a UNICEF expert on creating family advice centres in Romani communities; a UNDP expert on monitoring the health status of Roma people; a key expert of the Ministry of Health under PHARE programme; and a Board member of the Roma Education Fund of the Ministry of Education and Science.