Health and Migration: Oaxaca, Mexico

Instructor Name: 
Jack Corbet
Course Description: 

Increasingly, migrant workers in Oregon and other western states are arriving from southern Mexico, especially from the indigenous communities in the southern state of Oaxaca. Migration impacts the health of this population in complex ways, and challenges health care systems on both sides of the border. This Capstone course takes students to Oaxaca, Mexico to study the cultural, economic and social forces that impact health in both sending and receiving communities. We focus particular attention on diabetes and other chronic illnesses related to changes in diet and activity patterns among this translational population, but students will also have the opportunity to learn about the relationship between migration and HIV, and to visit with organizations that work on prevention in this area. Please contact Jack Corbett,, or Sam Gioia,, for more information.

Project Description: 

Description of the Final Product

In the first year of the project, students will:

  1. Develop a needs assessment and action plan for the second year students to follow up on.
  2. The assessment will contain all relevant findings about prevalence and distribution of diabetes in Oaxaca, especially among indigenous populations. The assessment will be based on first hand observations and visits to a number of key “stake-holders” including a rural clinic, a traditional village healer, the food bank of Oaxaca, the Center for Attention to the Migrant, the Center for Population, State of Oaxaca, the public health authorities.
  3. This report will be produced in Spanish and English and distributed to interested parties in Oaxaca.
  4. The report will conclude with suggestions for next steps, to be taken up by subsequent capstone classes.
  5. A preliminary report to invited guests in Oaxaca, and a public presentation at PSU.