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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Brain drain in health care

James Dwyer, PhD, Center for Bioethics and Humanities, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 725 Irving Avenue, Suite 406, Syracuse, NY 13210, 315.464.8455, dwyerja@upstate.edu

For over two decades, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals have been migrating from developing countries to more developed countries. In the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, over 20% of practicing physicians are foreign medical graduates. Many of these physicians emigrated from low- and middle-income countries with relatively high burdens of disease. Jamaica, Haiti, India, the Philippines, Ghana, and South Africa, for example, have lost more than 10% of their practicing physicians. In my presentation, I shall describe the migration of health care professionals, explain some of the factors behind this migration, and analyze the ethical issues. In my ethical analysis, I defend the right to emigrate as an important human right, but I argue that this right needs to be supplemented with an account of justice. I note why and how the migration of health care workers raises special concerns about international justice. But I also note how migration bears on issues of social justice. The American health care system, for example, relies on immigrant health care workers to serve underserved populations, and thereby pits the interests of the least advantaged Americans against the interests of people in low-income countries. The migration of health care workers also raises issues about social justice within the source countries. I argue that the private remittances that health care workers send home do not compensate for the public losses. In conclusion, I suggest that policies need to attend both to human rights and justice.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to

Keywords: International Health, Ethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Health Care Worker Migration from Developing Countries: What is Happening and Why it Matters

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA