Integrating Immigrant Health Professionals into the US Health Care Workforce: A Report from the Field


Since 2001, the Welcome Back Initiative (WBI) has implemented a program model in ten US cities to help foreign trained health professionals enter the US healthcare workforce. This paper reviews how the WBI has worked toward achieving this goal through community needs assessment, the development of a comprehensive program model and ongoing program evaluation. Since 2001, the WBI has served over 10,700 immigrant health professionals. Of these participants, 66% were not previously working in the health sector. After participating in the WBI’s services, 23% of participants found work in health care for the first time, 21% passed a licensing exam, and 87 physicians were connected to a residency program. As the US is facing a major shortfall of health care providers, the WBI is uniquely positioned to help fill a gap in provider supply with qualified, culturally aware, experienced clinicians that the current medical education infrastructure is unable to meet.

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Correspondence to José Ramón Fernández-Peña.

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Fernández-Peña, J.R. Integrating Immigrant Health Professionals into the US Health Care Workforce: A Report from the Field. J Immigrant Minority Health 14, 441–448 (2012).

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  • Immigrant
  • Health professional
  • Health care workforce
  • Diversity in health professions