Newsletter 2002
Immigration and Health

The treatment and prevention of AIDS/HIV and other communicable diseases is very much a global issue. Recently facilitated travel and high rates of immigration, both legal and illegal, to countries such as the United States and Spain have helped spread diseases throughout the world. The social, political, and economic issues surrounding healthcare on a national and international basis are of immediate universal concern.

With the second highest number of documented AIDS/HIV cases in Europe and its recent rise in immigration rates from developing countries, the need for research in this area is crucial for Spain. There are many organizations that have been created to promote research on the facts surrounding immigrants and other marginalized groups in Spain, such as the gitanos (Gypsies), and AIDS. About a year ago, the Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo released a document summarizing completed and ongoing research on AID/HIV among ethnic minorities and immigrants in Spain. Though there has been some progress in this area, the report clearly stresses the need for further research and support in this issue.

I applied for a Fulbright Grant to study the relationship between the marginal populations and the national healthcare system in Spain under the tutelage of a professor at la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. To prepare for this I completed a DANA mentorship with Dr. Sutherland, looking at raw statistical data on AIDS and immigration in Spain and reading specific accounts of immigrant life. The project has given me a solid foundation upon which to develop my research. It also made me crave more knowledge and to realize the real-life gravity of the issues. This has been an amazing learning experience, one that I hope to continue in Spain next year!

Sara Iobst '02
Fulbright awards will be announced later this spring. ¡Suerte, Sara!