Online Program

Improving access to healthcare for immigrants: Lessons learned through research and practice

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Solange Muller, MPH, Immigrant Health Initiative, Cold Spring, NY
Audrey Waltner, MPH, Division of Health Planning and Education, Dutchess County Department of Health, Poughkeepsie, NY
The Hudson Valley in New York State has seen a dramatic rise in the population of recent immigrants over the last decade. Barriers to accessing health care for this community continue to exist today and represent an ongoing deficit in the overall health of our community. A study conducted in a rural and urban area of Dutchess County in 2009 and 2010 documented these barriers among the population of recent immigrants. A survey was developed to collect data on health, healthcare seeking behaviors, and barriers to accessing care among recent immigrants. The results demonstrate in a multivariate analysis that female gender is one of the strongest predictors of engagement in the healthcare system for recent immigrants. Women were more likely to be insured, visit a doctor, and participate in some preventive health care. Longer duration of residence in the U.S. was also related to both acute care and preventive health visits. Language was a determinant of seeking regular physical exams and having insurance, but not a factor in overall healthcare engagement. A number of respondents (81%) reported feelings of depression or sadness, and 18.3% admitted to having depression. This rate is twofold greater than incidence of these symptoms prior to immigration. A trend toward higher prevalence of chronic diseases among subjects only after immigration to the U.S. was also observed. A program established in 2012 in rural Dutchess County, based on the research findings and targeting women's involvement in healthcare, is helping achieve greater access to care for immigrant families.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify four factors associated with health seeking behaviors of recent immigrants Compare barriers to health care access for immigrants in rural and urban communities. Describe the role immigrant women have on health seeking behaviors of their entire family. Describe a health intervention strategy with immigrants that led to improved access to care.

Keyword(s): Access to Health Care, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a principal investigator of "The Immigrant Health Initiative: A Study of Health Care of Recent Immigrants in Dutchess County", research conducted with 290 immigrants in 2009-2010. I have worked in developing strategies for improving access to health care for immigrants following the research. I have served as an advocate for immigrants and for the expansion of culturally competent and linguistically appropriate healthcare services at Hudson River HealthCare a network of Community Health Centers.
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.