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The Dream

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Immigrants come to America seeking a good life. Will it be a healthy one?

Drawn by the promise of freedom and opportunity, immigrants have come to America throughout the centuries, often arriving with little more than a strong work ethic and a simple dream – of a good life for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren.

Over 40 million people currently living in the United States were born in another country; many more were raised by parents who immigrated here as children or adults. The Fielding School-based California Health Interview Survey has found that more than half of the people residing in the Golden State are immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants. In Los Angeles, the numbers are even higher.

Is the immigrant experience in this country a healthy one? As the stories in this issue suggest, in many cases it is not. But as a leading school of public health in one of the world’s most diverse cities, the Fielding School is uniquely positioned to change these outcomes. In the pages that follow, you will read about students whose immigrant upbringing brought them here, poised to make a difference; about deeply rooted partnerships within Los Angeles that are identifying and implementing innovative strategies to improve the health of immigrant communities; and about the leadership of Fielding School faculty and alumni, both locally and nationally, that is making a profound impact on the health of our nation’s newest members.

Immigrants are central to our economy. They enrich our culture and strengthen our society. All of us have a stake in immigrants’ health. At the Fielding School, we are determined to help pave the way for the fulfillment of the dream.