A Battle of Two Fronts: Effects of COVID-19 and Social Stigma on the Undocumented Latinx Community in California

First Place, UCLA Library Research Prize, 2021

Honorable Mention, People's Choice Spring 2020

By: Oscar De La Rosa, Ma’ayan Epstein, Hannah Huhn, Anushka Jain, Krupa Prajapati

This episode of the Intersectional Healthcare podcast focuses on how social stigma, governmental policy, and decades of healthcare disparities have contributed to the increased infection and fatality rates of the undocumented Latinx community within California.

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This episode of Intersectional Healthcare focuses on the dual effects of stigma and COVID-19 on the undocumented Latinx community. This community has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in California, with the number of positive Hispanic and Latinx cases more than quadruple that of any other ethnic group. In this podcast, we hope to explore some of the nuances of how these disparities have been so pervasive throughout the pandemic, due to social stigma, governmental policy, and decades of healthcare disparities and preexisting conditions.

By following the story of “Juan,” we have isolated a number of possible explanations as to how and why this stigma has had such a devastating result. This episode will focus on governmental regulation of and rhetoric towards undocumented immigrants has perpetuated a cycle of mistrust, resulting in an epidemic of undocumented Latinx peoples who fear the healthcare system. By looking at historical factors – such as the Bracero program – as well as more recent governmental acts such as the rhetoric of former president Donald J. Trump, we will attempt to explain the connection between stigma and healthcare access.

This podcast only scratches the surface of the issues faced by this community, many of which we were unable to cover in the 35 minutes allotted. Although there is no single solution, the most broad avenue with which we may be able to prevent this from occurring in the future would be to strive towards more equity. This includes immigrant-positive rhetoric, the inclusion of immigrants in public services, and the dissolution of bias in the healthcare system.

This podcast takes a single amazing interview and weaves a complicated and enlightening story about the challenges of being an undocumented person in the US during COVID. Compassion and curiosity in equal doses, along with detailed and engaging explanations of the history, science, and health issues around this intersection. Quality podcasting and exemplary HBS Way work! – Professor Kelty

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