UCLA Blum Center co-hosted Workshop on Migration and Health
by Ernesto Valles, UCLA Blum Center Assistant
On Friday morning, March 6, 2015, American and international scholars came together for a workshop co-hosted by the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America and the UCLA Program on International Migration. The goal of the workshop was to provide a space to share ideas and discuss research findings on issues of migration and health. The diversity of disciplines in public health, sociology, and Latin America, to name a few, that these scholars come from enrich the unique approach that each one of them take in addressing the role migration plays in health.
Michael A. Rodriguez, Director of the UCLA Blum Center, Roger Waldinger, Professor in the Department of Sociology at UCLA, and Steven P. Wallace, Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Health Science at the UCLA Fileding School of Public Health served as the moderators of the discussion. The workshop provided a unique opportunity for the scholars behind these published research findings to come together and answer questions, as well as provide feedback on the type of work they do.
The workshop was broken up into three sessions, where Dr. Rodriguez facilitated the discussion during the first session. He started off by stating that among the first three published pieces that would be discussed, there existed a "theme of ties that form a continuum" for studying the role migration plays in Latinos' health. In order to assist in improving the lives and health status that immigrant Latinos have, there must be an understanding as to the kind of values and cultural traditions they hold and how that all ties into the decisions that one makes. Familismo, as Dr. Rodriguez explained, is something that for the most part dictates an immigrant's decision to come to the U.S. A majority of Latinos migrate to provide their families with a higher quality life and once here, family is essential to one's success and well-being. The first three articles analyzed the role that transnationalism and immigration play in mental health and took a bi-national approach to compare how life in the U.S. is similar and different to that back home.
The discussions that took place during the event gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge on migration and health, as well as provides them the opportunity to be mentored on their own research exploration. The UCLA Blum Center prioritizes improving poverty and health in Latin America through research, training, and policy. In taking part in these events, our Center discusses the different perspectives and approaches scholars have to these social issues. For, the feedback and comments that students pose will train the future generations of scholars on their own research work and eventually play an active role on policy changes.