Foster International Migration to meet the Healthcare demand: MPI Report

Published Date:   Sunday, Mar 17, 2013

International health migration has been a major trend of overseas population movement. Most of the migration took place post 70s from south Asian countries. In international context, role of North and South America was mostly invisible since last decade. A new Migration Policy Institute report published in February 2013 titled “Strengthening health systems in North and Central America: What role for migration?”, seeks to draw attention to the cross-border migration in the Americas and suggests ways the migration could be managed to meet the demand for health care services in the region. The report, co-authored by New York University College of Nursing’s (NYUCN) Allison Squires, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of NYUCN’s International Education & Visiting Scholars program and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez of the Population Studies Center at Harvard University, focuses on nursing personnel in a comparative case study, which looked at health care services and human resources in five countries-- El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States--to identify constraints on health care capacity. The report examines the health care sector in each country by reviewing their health care systems, demand for services, epidemiological profiles, and demographics.

The report, divided into sections, begins by providing general background information on the health care sector in each country. Section II explores the international, multibillion-dollar phenomenon of nurse migration and highlights the contributions of internationally educated nurses (IENs) to the US health care system. Section III reviews the major health care issues in each country, discussing how changing demographics and epidemiological profiles increase the demand for services and how nursing services can meet this new demand. The report concludes with eight recommendations for fostering migration as a way to meet health care demand in all the study countries. These include investments in educational systems, ways to facilitate the credentialing of nurses across borders, developing visas based on improving language concordance between nurses and patients disproportionately affected by health disparities, integrating transitional educational programs as part of the credentialing process for internationally educated nurses, and ways to capitalize on “hidden nurses” of Hispanic heritage who are currently living in the United States who have the potential to contribute to health disparities reduction. The report highlights factors influencing both healthcare and migration and provides a more inclusive approach.


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