California Medical Schools Lack Policy for Undocumented Applicants
California universities do not have a formal policy for admitting undocumented immigrants into graduate medical school programs, but more are beginning to accept such applicants, The Atlantic reports.
According to The Atlantic, many medical schools used to dispose of applications from undocumented immigrants under the assumption that they would not qualify for:
- Federal loans;
- Medical residency programs; or
- Physician licenses (Campbell/Whiteman, The Atlantic, 12/9).
However, President Obama in 2012 developed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants undocumented children legal status and authorization to work in the U.S. for two-year periods (California Healthline, 11/21).
Last year, the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago became the first medical graduate program in the U.S. to openly accept applications from undocumented immigrants who qualified for DACA.
About one-third of medical schools now accept applications from undocumented immigrants, according to an Association of American Medical Colleges survey of 119 medical schools.
However, undocumented students cannot not yet receive federal loans or obtain a professional license in most states.
Undocumented Medical Students in Calif.
In California, UC-San Francisco is part of the small but growing number of schools starting to admit undocumented immigrants into their graduate programs.
This fall, UCSF's medical school accepted Jirayut Latthivongskorn, an undocumented immigrant from Thailand.
Admissions officers at UCSF said they were concerned about how Latthivongskorn would pay for school and whether he would be able to practice medicine upon graduating. But under recent state law, Latthivongskorn was able to apply for state-funded financial aid and student loans to allow him to obtain a physician's license.
David Wofsy, associate dean for admissions at UCSF's medical school said, "Ultimately, we decided we had a here-and-now issue to deal with, and we weren't going to discriminate against people based on guesses about what might happen in the future."
Latthivongskorn and two of his friends have created the Pre-Health Dreamers group to reach out to medical schools in an effort to increase acceptance of undocumented students. The group includes more than 300 undocumented immigrants who hope to become physicians and nurses.
According to The Atlantic, the future for undocumented medical students is uncertain.
For example, undocumented immigrants in California might not be able to work at hospitals as medical residents if the next president gets rid of DACA or if immigration reform stalls in Congress (The Atlantic, 12/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.