Migrant Labor is Exploited in the US

NPR’s “On Point” program has done a great piece on exploited foreign labor in the US.  The   discussion mainly focused on agricultural and blue collar jobs, but the same situation applies to foreign trained health workers, especially  nurses and medical residents.  They are often paid less than the prevailing wage and given patient loads higher and shifts longer than is generally considered safe.  In addition, any employers have used the threat of hiring foreing nurses to break American nursing unions. Not only are the foreign nurses abused, but the profession is degraded and patients are endangered.  Patricia Pittman did a great study which revealed that 50% of foreign-trained nurses experienced significant labor violations.


About Dr. Kate Tulenko

Dr. Kate Tulenko is a physician, health policy specialist, and Senior Director for Health Systems Innovation at IntraHealth Internatonal. She is the former coordinator of the World Bank’s Africa Health Workforce Program and recently served as team lead on Health Workforce Shortage for the “Reinventing Primary Care Project” for the Hope Street Group, a bipartisan coalition of business, civic and policy leaders. Dr. Tulenko serves on the board of the National Physicians Alliance and on the board of advisors for the Global Business School Network and in 2002 she received a Rainer Arnhold Fellowship for innovation in global development. She is a practicing pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Tulenko has degrees from Harvard; Johns Hopkins; and Emmanuel College, Cambridge and holds adjunct faculty positions at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the George Mason School of Health and Human Services. Her book, "Insourced: How Importing Jobs Impacts the Healthcare Crisis Here and Abroad", addresses how the U.S. is underinvesting in training young Americans to be health workers and instead imports doctors and nurses from poor countries with extreme health worker shortages. Opinions expressed in "Insourced" represent those of Dr. Tulenko alone and do not represent opinions or policies of any of her current or past employers. Dr. Tulenko grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and Gainesville, Florida. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and two daughters with whom she enjoys exploring the beauty of art and nature. Follow Dr. Tulenko on twitter at ktulenko.
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One Response to Migrant Labor is Exploited in the US

  1. SVEngineer says:

    Dr Kate Tulenko,

    I am not at all surprised about the problem of indentured doctors. As a matter of fact, the Las Vegas Sun has written a whole series of this indentured doctor problem.


    “Allowed into the U.S. to treat underserved patients, foreign physicians are instead exploited — working countless hours, sometimes with little pay — too scared to complain and risk being sent home.

    Those sponsoring physicians pull the foreign doctors away from the clinics and assign them to work in Las Vegas hospitals (where they compete against American doctors), where they generate more revenue for their sponsors.

    The whole J-1 program has become like a U.S. government-sponsored scam.

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