Date Authored: March 24, 2021

Some of the hyped claims and concerns over health risks from migrant children stem from ignorance, if not racial prejudice. The answer to responding to disease challenges is not scaremongering, not pointing fingers at migrant children, but rather ensuring that appropriate treatment is in place for them, regardless of where geographic borders lie.

Scaremongering about the health of migrant children when there is no significant health threat – why is this a medical issue and what can healthcare professionals and students do to fight against racial stigmas?

The Migrant Children and Health Campaign has information dedicated to separating fact from fiction on the migrant children health issue, urging healthcare organizations and professionals to recognize and stand against the harmful public health effects of scaremongering and other discriminatory practices.

Migrant Children and Health: Borders, Boundaries, and Bigotry on Vimeo 
To raise awareness on the issue of scaremongering among medical professionals and those in training, the Migrant Children and Health Campaign created a video featuring leaders in immigrant and refugee health advocacy. This video introduces the facts about migrant children health, and the continued history of racial and ethnic disease scaremongering in the US. The video was created in partnership with EthnoMed, the Duke University Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke Program on Global Health and Technology Access, and the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America.

Additional Resources

Central American (Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran) Minors Refugee Health Profile
This report from the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine identifies background and health conditions that healthcare providers should consider when caring for refugee minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Migrant Children and Health Advocacy Toolkit
An advocacy toolkit with ideas and suggestions for discussion. This 13-page toolkit includes factual information and references, discussion questions and talking points for a seminar, how to use social media or an op-ed and other ways to promote the message.

Fact Sheet on Migrant Children Entering the United States
Fact sheet with references and information about the health status of migrant children crossing at US borders. Produced collaboratively by representatives of UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America, Duke Sanford Program on Global Health and Technology Access and EthnoMed.

Harvard Public Health Review “Refugee Health”
The April 2016 issue of the Harvard Public Health Review focused on Refugee Health with six articles on various aspects of refugee health. EthnoMed is featured in “Healthcare Recommendations for Recently Arrived Refugees: Observations from EthnoMed”. The Review can be freely accessed and is committed to the mission of advancing the public’s health through learning and communication.


The American Medical Association adopted the following Resolution H-350.957 Addressing Immigrant Health Disparities at their June 2015 meeting in Chicago:

1. Our American Medical Association recognizes the unique health needs of refugees, and encourages the exploration of issues related to refugee health and support legislation and policies that address the unique health needs of refugees.
2. Our AMA: (A) urges federal and state government agencies to ensure standard public health screening and indicated prevention and treatment for immigrant children, regardless of legal status, based on medical evidence and disease epidemiology; (B) advocates for and publicizes medically accurate information to reduce anxiety, fear, and marginalization of specific populations; and (C) advocates for policies to make available and effectively deploy resources needed to eliminate health disparities affecting immigrants, refugees or asylees.(Res. 804, I-09; Appended: Res. 409, A-15)

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Resolution
The AMSA House of Delegates recently passed a resolution against immigrant scaremongering. The resolution’s language became part of the Preamble, Purposes and Principles (PPP) of the Association, directing the organization’s stance on all issues.

American Medical Association Resolution addressing Immigrant Health Disparities 
The American Medical Association (AMA) Resident & Fellow Section drafted a resolution to incorporate policies for addressing immigrant health disparities. The resolution urges U.S. federal and state agencies to ensure routine medical care access to immigrant populations, and calls for public awareness and prevention of stigma, profiling, and inaccurate accusations targeted towards immigrants in relation to their health status.

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