Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation

Marcia D. Hohn, EdD; James C. Witte, PhD; Justin P. Lowry, PhD; & José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD
Date of Publication: 
June, 2016
Source Organization: 
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Immigrants play an outsized and imperative role in the U.S. health care industry. Combining existing data and profiles of immigrants across the health care spectrum, Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation, published by The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between George Mason University and The ILC, outlines the impact of the foreign-born in health care as a whole and particularly in three subfields: medicine and medical science, long-term care and nursing. Comprising only 13% of the general population, immigrants are 22% of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, 28% of physicians and surgeons and 40% of medical scientists in manufacturing research and development. Foreign-born health care workers are critical in meeting the demands of the current health care market, which includes shortages of physicians in rural and inner-city areas, a need for cutting-edge medical technology and an aging and longer-lived population rapidly diversifying in race and ethnicity. Given the necessary innovation and cultural and linguistic skills immigrants bring to health care, the authors recommend creating provisional visas for home care workers, supporting the Professional Access to Health Workforce Integration Act, and investing in and further developing workforce development programs that support and help integrate immigrant health care professionals. (Crystal Ye for The ILC Public Education Institute)

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Hohn, M. D., Witte, J. C., Lowry, J. P., & Fernández-Peña, J. R. (2016). Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation. The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., & The Institute for Immigration Research. Washington, DC. Available at: