Immigrant Health Research

immigrant health research at play

One in every four children in the US has a parent who immigrated here, and each year nearly 800 refugee families arrive in Philadelphia in search of freedom, peace, and opportunity. These children are an incredibly important part of our nation's future, and their healthcare needs are the same, if not more extensive, than those of others in the US. Developing evidence-based programs to make sure that these children have access to primary health prevention is what drives immigrant health research at CPCE. We are working to improve the provision of patient-centered and accessible care for children in immigrant and refugee families.

Led by Katherine Yun, MD, MHS, a core faculty member for CPCE and Policy Lab at CHOP, an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and an attending physician in General Pediatrics and the Refugee Health Program at CHOP, this line of research focuses on the prevalence of chronic, non-communicable conditions and insurance coverage among refugees in the US, as well as differences in primary and dental care utilization by children in different types of immigrant families.

A recent study we published in the American Journal of Public Health looked at trends in preventive dental care among Medicaid-enrolled immigrant children in Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2010, as compared to nonimmigrant children from the same ethnic groups. We found that both groups were equally as likely to receive preventive dental care and that a growing number of these Medicaid-enrolled children received care as the study period progressed.

What’s Next: We are continuing to explore access to preventive health services for children of refugees and other immigrants in Pennsylvania. Our current research projects involve working with Spanish- and Nepali-speaking communities in Philadelphia to:

  • define health system literacy
  • describe health system navigation
  • map the child health neighborhood from the perspective of parents who have recently immigrated to the US

Funding: University of Pennsylvania/Leonard Davis Institute; University of Pennsylvania Center for Public Health Initiatives; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services; Mayer Family Foundation.

Please contact Katherine Yun, MD, MHS, CHOP CPCE/Policy Lab core faculty member, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and attending physician in general pediatrics and the Refugee Health Program at CHOP, for more information about this line of research.


Immigrant Health Published Research

Scott KC, Taylor EM, Mamo B, Herr ND, Cronkright PJ, Yun K, Altshuler M, Shetty S. Hepatitis B screening and prevalence among resettled refugees - United States, 2006-2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2015 June; 64(21): 570-573.

Subedi P, Drezner K, Dogbey MC, Newbern EC, Yun K, Scott KC, Garland JM, Altshuler MJ, Johnson CC. Evaluation of latent tuberculosis infection and treatment completion for refugees in Philadelphia, PA 2010-2012. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. 2015 May; 19(5):565-569.

Yun K, Mohamad Z, Kiss L, Annamalai A, Zimmerman C. History of Persecution and Health Outcomes Among U.S. Refugees. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health/Center for Minority Public Health. 2015 March.

Subedi P, Li C, Gurung A, Bizune D, Dogbey MC, Johnson CC, Yun K. Mental health first aid training for the Bhutanese refugee community in the United States. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 2015 May 9; (20), 2015.

Yun K, Chesnokova A, Shults J, Pinto A, Rubin DM. Use of preventive dental care among medicaid-enrolled, school-aged US children in immigrant and nonimmigrant families: trends in Pennsylvania from 2005 through 2010. American Journal of Public Health. 2014 Dec; 104(12).

Yun K, Chesnokova AM, Luan X, Localio AR, Rubin DM. Effect of maternal-child home visitation on pregnancy spacing for first-time Latina mothers. American Journal of Public Health. 2014 Feb; 104 (Suppl 1): S152-8

Rosenthal MS, Barash J, Blackstock O, Ellis-West S, Filice C, Furie G, Greysen SR, Malone S, Tinney B, Yun K, Lucas GI. Building community capacity: sustaining the effects of multiple, two-year community-based participatory research projects. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. 2014; 8(3): 365-374.

Yun K, Fuentes-Afflick E, Curry LA, Krumholz HM, Desai MM. Parental immigration status is associated with children's health care utilization: findings from the 2003 new immigrant survey of US legal permanent residents. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2013 Dec;17(10): 1913-21.

Yun K, Fuentes-Afflick E, Desai MM. Prevalence of chronic disease and insurance coverage among refugees in the United States. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health/Center for Minority Public Health. 2012 Dec; 14(6): 933-40.