Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 610–614 | Cite as

Mexican Immigrants in the US Living Far from the Border may Return to Mexico for Health Services

  • Regan Bergmark
  • Donald Barr
  • Ronald Garcia
Original Paper


Background This study explores to what extent and why Mexican immigrants in the U.S. living far from the border return to Mexico for medical services. Methods Structured Spanish-language qualitative interviews were completed with a crosssectional sample of 10 Central Mexican immigrants living in Northern California and with 10 physicians and 25 former immigrants living in Central Mexico. Results Sixteen of the 35 current and former immigrants (46%) said they or a close friend or relative had returned to Mexico from the U.S. for health-related reasons. Participants returned to Mexico for care due to unsuccessful treatment in the U.S., the difficulty of accessing care in the U.S. and preference for Mexican care. Discussion Obtaining care in Mexico appears to be common. These findings have implications for the maintenance of continuity of care, for Mexico’s healthcare system, and for the impact of changing border policies on immigrant health.


Border crossing Healthcare Immigrants Medical tourism Mexico California Mental health Minority health Dental care 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Brian Bergmark and Professors Ron Barrett, Stan Wanat and Jennifer Wolf. We would further like to thank the Stanford Undergraduate Research Program, Bing Honors College, Stanford Program in Human Biology, and the John Gardner Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Human BiologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Program in Human BiologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family and Community MedicineStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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