Thirty years ago, in different parts of Italy, health and social workers active in No profit organisations, started opening outpatient primary care clinics for undocumented migrants, who did not have at the time the right to health care. At the beginning of the 1990s, these workers organised themselves in a National Scientific Society, named the Italian Society of Migration Medicine (SIMM), and started sharing different belongings, competences and experiences with the common goal of promoting the right to public health care for migrants staying in Italy, regardless of their legal status. Since then, SIMM has become a real policy network which positively affected the specific choices made in the field of public health policies. In the following years, the decentralisation process brought more decision-making power to the regional level, therefore SIMM decided to work for a participative bottom-up process aimed at creating territorial organisations, the Health and Immigration Groups (GrIS). In the paper, the history of this Society is described, together with the history of the national and local norms and policies on health and migration and of the increasing awareness of the role that civil society and professionals can play in shaping the policies. The main keys we propose to the readers can be summarised as follows: from medicine to health, from delegation to participation, from advocacy to empowerment.
Keywords: Immigrazione, medicina, salute globale, rete, advocacy, empowerment