251338 Immigrants: Health status and access to care Implications for infectious diseases care in the US

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:45 AM

Monika Sawhney, PhD , Department of Global Studies, Mercer University, Macon, GA
Over the years the United States (US) has experienced significant increase in immigration population. The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in January 2010 was 10.8 million (DHS Office of Immigration Statistics). Several factors such as education, socioeconomic background, immigration status, limited English proficiency, residential locations and stigma and marginalization have an impact on health care seeking behavior for this group of population.

Infectious diseases pose a huge challenge to the health status of the immigrant population. (Tuberculosis, Chagas, Malaria, Syphilis and HIV). Tracking and providing treatment to the legal immigrant population has been a challenge in itself when it comes to dealing with infectious diseases mainly for infectious diseases such as syphilis and HIV/AIDS. Creating surveillance systems and tracking infectious diseases has been a challenge for most of the states in the US. It is even more challenging in states with higher population of immigrants such as California, Texas, and Florida.

Primary focus of this research is to study factors that hinder immigrants from seeking health care, especially with regard to infectious diseases. Meta-analysis will be used to document impact of select health care policies on health care seeking behavior of immigrants. Results from this research will be used to suggest changes in policies governing health care for immigrants especially to help them overcome barriers.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the importance of infectious diseases among the immigrant population. 2. Identify major barriers in health seeking behavior among this group of population 3. Specify possible policy implications to improve access to health care thus reducing the burden of infectious diseases.

Keywords: Access and Services, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working on research associated with infectious diseases and health care access issues in United States and am qualified to present on this topic.
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.