185915 Modern challenges to immigrants' health and health care access

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 5:00 PM

Romelia Rodriguez, CHW , Asthma Program, Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Sergio Matos, BS, CHW , Center for Population and Family Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City, NY
Sally E. Findley, PhD , Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Immigration in the United States has changed much over the past eight years and so has the life of immigrants. Today, immigrants face many challenges and barriers that impact their health and access to health care services.

In order to develop and implement public health interventions in support of immigrant communities, we must first understand what it means to be an immigrant in this modern age and come to understand the barriers they face. What doers it mean for someone to have to live and work without having identification? How do people live and work without an ATM card and without the possibility of establishing credit. What does it mean when you cannot have a lease or a telephone account or a utility service in your own name? How can you be healthy when you live in constant fear of government and the police? How can people be healthy when they are not sure if they will return home to their families every day they head out to work? How does someone even approach a foreign and unknown healthcare system when in need of services?

These questions and many others will be addressed in order to help public health professionals, government funders and program developers understand the particular conditions faced by today's immigrants and how we can develop programs that address these unique conditions.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will discuss personal and structural challenges to immigrant health and ohealth care access. Participants will discuss barriers to the health and well being of immigrant communities across the United States and particularly along the border regions of the Southwest. Participants will describe what it means to live "underground" - without identification, without the possibility of establishing credit, under constant illegal police embarrassment and in fear of government and separation from family and friends - and how these conditions affect health.

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Community Health Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an experienced community health worker working with newly immigrant communities for the past six years. I have presented my work at APHA for the past four years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.