Foreign-Born Latinos Living in Rural Areas are more likely to Experience Health Care Discrimination: Results from Proyecto de Salud para Latinos


Health care discrimination is increasingly considered a significant barrier to accessing health services among minority populations, including Latinos. However, little is known about the role of immigration status. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between immigration status and perceived health care discrimination among Latinos living in rural areas. Interviews were conducted among 349 young-adult Latinos (ages 18 to 25) living in rural Oregon, as part of Proyecto de Salud para Latinos. Over a third of participants experienced health care discrimination (39.5 %). Discrimination was higher among foreign-born (44.9 %) rather than US-born Latinos (31.9 %). Multivariate results showed that foreign-born Latinos were significantly more likely to experience health care discrimination, even after controlling for other relevant factors (OR = 2.10, 95 % CI 1.16–3.82). This study provides evidence that health care discrimination is prevalent among young-adult Latinos living in rural areas, particularly the foreign-born. Effective approaches towards reducing discrimination in health care settings should take into consideration the need to reform our broken immigration system.

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We thank the study participants in the four Oregon counties who took the time to answer our questions. Support for this study was provided by cooperative agreement U01DP000123A from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to S. Marie Harvey (PI). Dr. López-Cevallos was supported in part by the Summer Institute on Mentoring Researchers in Latino Health Disparities at San Diego State University (R25HL105430). The views expressed in this article are the responsibility solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

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Correspondence to Daniel F. López-Cevallos.

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López-Cevallos, D.F., Harvey, S.M. Foreign-Born Latinos Living in Rural Areas are more likely to Experience Health Care Discrimination: Results from Proyecto de Salud para Latinos . J Immigrant Minority Health 18, 928–934 (2016).

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  • Immigration status
  • Access to health care
  • Discrimination
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Latinos