ABSTRACT. Health care employs nearly 1.3 million across the Midwest and generates billions of dollars in wages, making it an integral part of the regional economy. Yet the sector faces a growing crisis, fueled by interconnected trends: the mounting healthcare needs of baby boomers increasingly strain the sector, just as it faces an unprecedented shortage of workers. In response, hospital administrators increasingly look to immigrant workers – foreign-born physicians, researchers, nurses, health aides, and hospital workers – to fill gaps in their workforces. However, their ability to hire this foreign-born talent is limited by an outdated federal immigration system. Informed by interviews with regional healthcare stakeholders and analysis of Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, this paper, originally published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, explores the implications of a federal immigration system that does not respond to current economic and demographic realities. It includes recommendations for immigration policy reforms that will ensure the sector is able to maximize the contributions of foreign-born talent moving forward. pp. 84–114

Keywords: Midwest; foreign-born physician; IMGs; credentialing; immigration reform; cultural competency

How to cite: Fisher, Nicole (2016), “Midwest Diagnosis: Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector,” American Journal of Medical Research 3(2): 84–114.

Received 6 May 2016 • Received in revised form 10 June 2016
Accepted 11 June 2016 • Available online 1 August 2016


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HHR Strategies;
Global Brain Health Coalition;
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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