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Ling San Lau is a pediatric doctor and Senior Program Officer for the Program on Forced Migration and Health (PFMH) and Care and Protection of Children (CPC) Learning Network at Columbia University. Her professional experience bridges clinical medicine, public health, and research, and she has worked with communities in Zimbabwe, Nepal, and Jordan. Dr. Lau is dedicated to improving the health and protecting the rights of marginalized populations, including children and families affected by forced displacement, violence, and communicable diseases.
Dr. Lau supports the PFMH Action Hub on COVID-19 and Displacement, responding to the needs and rights of displaced populations affected by the pandemic through research as well as policy and public-health guidance and action. She previously managed a research project examining self-reliance and resilience among Syrian refugees and receiving communities in Jordan, focusing on livelihoods, education, and social protection; and a multi-country research consortium funded by the World Bank, aiming to strengthen national health systems in contexts of protracted displacement.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged public health and migration management infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa, as never before. It revealed important lessons about how countries in the region can adapt mobility systems in ways that protect public health while also allowing people to safely access work, humanitarian protection, and their communities.