Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Taking care of undocumented children: how parents and providers secure health care for uninsured latino children in a new growth community

Pesantes Villa, Maria Amalia (2014) Taking care of undocumented children: how parents and providers secure health care for uninsured latino children in a new growth community. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Submitted Version

Download (849kB) | Preview


This research explores the decision-making process of Latino parents when confronted with the health needs of their undocumented children in Allegheny and Washington Counties of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a New Growth Community where Latinos represent fewer than 5% of the population. The research objectives were to: (1) describe the strategies deployed by parents, social workers and healthcare providers to secure health care for uninsured Latino children in a New Growth Community, (2) illustrate the complexity of addressing the health needs of Latino children whose legal status in the USA prevents them from accessing health care, (3) identify the most effective strategies to provide health care for uninsured Latino children from the variety of approaches currently used by parents, social workers and healthcare providers, and (4) propose possible measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of these strategies.
During the summer of 2010, I conducted in-depth interviews with parents of undocumented children, social workers and healthcare providers serving Latinos. Testimonies indicated that health needs of undocumented Latino children in the study area are not addressed in a timely manner. This affected children’s health status and their participation in school and afterschool physical activities.
Undocumented children in these counties do not have access to preventive health care and mostly rely on free or low-cost clinics, emergency room visits or the generosity of local doctors and providers. Lack of information about available services, fear of questions on immigration status, and concerns about medical expenses make healthcare decisions harder for parents.
Parents and providers often depend on personal, professional and community networks to deal with urgent medical conditions and/or specialized care. Such strategies, by their very nature, are impermanent and unsustainable. Institutional healthcare options for undocumented uninsured children in this New Growth Community are few and not optimal.
This research is of public health importance because it suggests that Latinos and organizations that work with Latinos need to develop advocacy strategies that will guarantee access to low-cost health insurance for all children regardless of their immigration status. Arguments should center in both financial and public health implications of having uninsured children in the county.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pesantes Villa, Maria
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDocumét, Patriciapdocumet@pitt.eduPDOCUMET
Committee MemberTerry, Martha A.materry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberFox, Andreafoxar@upmc.eduAFOX
Date: 27 June 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 June 2012
Approval Date: 27 June 2014
Submission Date: 2 January 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 137
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Undocumented Children; Latinos; Southwestern Pennsylvania; Health Insurance; Children
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2014 22:25
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:41


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item