The Latin American Immigrant's Identity Seen Through the U.S. Healthcare System and Legal Process

Alyssa Reese

A preview of the full poster available below.

A preview of the full poster available below.

Undergraduate Student Project


Have you heard of any recent changes in immigration policies pertaining to Latin American immigrants?

My name is Alyssa Reese and I'm a pre-med Biomedical Sciences and Legal Studies major here at UB.  Last fall, I conducted research in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures with the help of my mentor Dr. Colleen Culleton.  My project focused on three things.  Firstly, it explains the medicalization of legal policies targeted toward Latin American immigrants in the US from a historical perspective.  Secondly, it communicates a constant trend of prejudice and discrimination present within these legal and healthcare policies pertaining to Latin American immigrants.  Lastly, it describes the influence of these policies on the well-being of Latin American immigrants in the context of social determinants of health with an emphasis on psychological condition. 

Overall, the goal of the project was to look at how, historically and presently, the identity of the Latin American immigrant is shaped by the US healthcare system and legal process.


Throughout the last approximately 150 years, the United States' policy pertaining to immigration has evolved.  Since the US began placing greater restrictions on immigration in the late 19th century, there has been a constant emergence of new policies that have altered the legal and healthcare rights of Latin American immigrants.  This project seeks to synthesize studies from the current literature in order to ascertain the factors that have influenced the creation of health and legal policy associated with Latin American immigration to the US.  In doing so, I will divulge the major motivators of prejudice and discrimination, and a pattern of fear-induced policies will become apparent.  The consequences of these motivators being embedded within US policy will be explained in terms of the physical and emotional well-being of the Latin American immigrant.

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