Immigration as a Social Determinant of Health

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering,and Medicine
Date of Publication: 
December, 2018
Source Organization: 

These proceedings summarize discussions held at a workshop on “Immigration and the Social Determinants of Health” held by the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity of the National Academies in October of 2017.  The National Academies does not expect this type of workshop to reach a consensus, or to produce a set of recommendations, but rather to engage in a preliminary exploration of the issue.  Citing a meta-analysis on immigration and health that was published in 2015, one conference participant noted that research on immigrant health has largely focused on cultural practices and individual behaviors, rather than “on glaring patterns of inequality and pathogenic conditions produced by structures of poverty, immigration policy, and heavy-handed enforcement tactics.” Another participant suggested that pursuing comprehensive immigration reform should be considered a public health strategy because of the high rates of depression and post-traumatic stress caused by lack of legal status and intensified deportations. The workshop included a “world café” session featuring the work of six California organizations active in reducing health inequities:  The Alameda Health Consortium, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, the Center for Empowering Immigrants and Refugees, Centro Legal de la Raza, Culturally Responsible Care groups at Kaiser Permanente, and Filipino Advocates for Justice. (American Immigrant Policy Portal)

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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). Immigration as a Social Determinant of Health: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available at