There exists a shortage of knowledge about how the health of US Mexican immigrants, a population of 12.3 million, is impacted by circular immigration patterns. This population is highly vulnerable to health risks and stress arising from poverty, discrimination, cultural differences, and immigration policy enforcement. Addressing this from a public health perspective requires an understanding of the conditions under which immigrant populations are exposed to health risks in their country of origin, while migrating, at their destination context or upon returning to their home country. The proposed international research collaboration has the potential to build a solid research foundation for developing interventions to achieve health equity for an underserved minority population of US immigrants. The research proposed aims to address this knowledge gap by examining the mechanisms by which immigration processes expose individuals to distinct environments, increases susceptibility to risk behaviors and contributes to mental and physical health disparities, infectious diseases and alcohol/drug dependence in the host or origin communities. Using the Symbiotic Model of Risk Reduction, this study proposes a concurrent mixed-methods nested design to recruit a sample of 600 that will include two subgroups of floating recent immigrants (within the past 5 years) that have arrived to Los Angeles and a group who have returned to Mexico City either voluntary or forced.
The specific aims will: 1) Determine the prevalence of physical health (cardiovascular, metabolic dysregulation), mental health, infection, and substance abuse/dependence outcomes; 2) Identify and characterize the association between migration histories and health outcomes for the subgroups of floating populations; 3) Determine whether individual, social and environmental determinants mediate and/or moderate the relationships among the migration subgroups and varying health condition outcomes; 4) Characterize qualitatively the influence of culture and community context on strategies, practices and circumstances for maintaining safer (or riskier) health status and substance use.

Public Health Relevance

This application seeks to determine the health status of floating recent immigrant's (those who move back and forth between the US and Mexico either voluntarily or forced), the influence of migration history on health and how environmental factors affect health outcomes. This population is highly vulnerable to health risks and stress arising from poverty, discrimination, cultural differences, and immigration policy enforcement. Using a mixed- methods approach we will determine among a sample of 300 recent immigrants in Los Angeles and 300 recent return immigrants to Mexico City, the prevalence of biological markers of physical health, mental health and substance abuse/dependence that aims to reduce health disparities among this underrepresented population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Health Disparities and Equity Promotion Study Section (HDEP)
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Jones, Nancy Lynne
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University of Southern California
Los Angeles
United States
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