New report details immigrants’ vital contributions to U.S. health care

I think the health care system in Boston would collapse without immigrants.
Jerry Rubin, Director, Jewish Vocational Services of Greater Boston
Immigrants in Health Care cover; "Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation"

Immigrants are vital contributors to U.S. health care, particularly in the fields of medicine and medical science, long-term care and nursing. Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation is a new report published by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between George Mason University (GMU) and The ILC.

The report finds that immigrants play outsized and critical roles in American health in a number of ways including:

  • Immigrants fill gaps:
    • 46 percent of immigrant physicians go into internal medicine, where there is a lack of doctors, versus only 15 percent of U.S. medical graduates.
  • Immigrants innovate:
    • Immigrants are 42 percent of researchers in the top seven cancer centers in the U.S.
  • Immigrants bring necessary cultural and linguistic skills:
    • As well as aging and living longer, the U.S. population is diversifying in race and ethnicity. Immigrants help patients overcome language and cultural barriers to access proper medical care, especially in the nursing field.

Given the imperative role of immigrants in health care, the report makes recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and more including:

  • For the health care field:
    • Upper-level management and other stakeholders in health care should be more aware of and devote more resources to integrating immigrants into the health sector.
  • For workforce development:
    • Invest in programs for education and training programs in health care careers from the aid level to the professional level including transitional education programs for under-educated workers.
  • For local government:
    • Bring together industry workers and policymakers to redefine and standardize clinical tasks thereby streamlining delivery of care.

Click here to learn more about the report, download the full report and fact sheet and watch video interviews with two of the immigrant workers profiled.

Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation is written by Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD, retired director of The ILC Public Education Institute; Justin P. Lowry, PhD, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, and James C. Witte, PhD, Director, both of the Institute for Immigration Research at GMU; and José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, Associate Department Chair, Department of Health Education, of San Francisco State University and the Welcome Back Initiative.

The report was debuted in a free webinar hosted by The ILC Public Education Institute featuring representatives from the National Skills Coalition, Tufts University, the Welcome Back Initiative and more. To learn about all of the Institute’s free webinars, click here.

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