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The passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has yielded many questions about how the reform will improve healthcare access for individuals residing in the U.S. However, many documented and undocumented immigrants are legally excluded and ineligible to receive coverage under the policy. To explore how health reform will influence the healthcare access of immigrants, I am conducting a pre and post ACA implementation case study in Boston, MA which has diverse immigrant populations and was at the epicenter of the healthcare reform debate. Massachusetts implemented health reform in 2006, becoming the model for the ACA. However, the Massachusetts reform is inclusive of immigrants regardless of documentation status while the ACA is more exclusive. Using qualitative interviews and analysis of immigration and health policy, I examine the following themes: (1) differences in health coverage options for immigrants in Massachusetts under the MA and ACA reforms; (2) what barriers to care remain for immigrants in the Boston metropolitan area under the two reforms; (3) how local and federal immigration policy (e.g. immigration enforcement, inability to get driver’s licenses) shape immigrants’ healthcare access and service use under the reforms; and (4) what can be learned from the MA case about healthcare access for immigrants and other vulnerable populations under the ACA given its imperfect implementation across the country. 

This project examines​ the multifaceted ways in which migration between the U.S. and Brazil have influenced the lives of Brazilians in Governador Valadares (GV), Brazil and Brazilian immigrants in the U.S. GV is Brazil's largest immigrant-sending city to the U.S. Research for this project was based on interviews conducted with 73 Brazilians, both return migrants and non-migrants in GV from 2007-2008.

My research broadly examines the racialization of immigrants and their U.S.-born children; comparative frameworks of race and impact of migration in the Americas; and health, healthcare access, and impact of public policy among vulnerable populations. While many sociologists separately examine immigration, racial and ethnic conceptions, the social construction of race in the U.S., and health, my research attempts to bridge these four areas by exploring how immigration changes the ways people conceptualize and live race and ethnicity in different places and the implications of such changes on health. A separate, but related, line of research has explored diversity in education, particularly with regard to underrepresented minorities’ access to and experiences in elite academic settings. All of these issues are especially important given the impact of immigration on U.S. ethno-racial demographics and relations and the U.S. educational system.

Using data from the Faculty Diversity Project at the University of Michigan (co-PIs Alford Young Jr. and Mark Chesler), I explored how the under-representation of women and faculty of color in academia facilitates these faculty being asked more frequently to mentor students of color and serve on diversity-related departmental and university committees.


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