Nearly one-third of physicians, a fifth of pharmacists, and a quarter of dentists were born abroad. Nearly one out of five nursing, psychiatric and home health aides — who perform typically low-paying work caring for the elderly, disabled, or mentally ill — are foreign-born, with one in 10 coming from the Caribbean and Central America.
Overall, one out of six healthcare professionals (17 percent) are immigrants, with a similar proportion being the children of immigrants.
Moreover, immigrants fill health care jobs in rural or understaffed communities that have a harder time attracting U.S.-born medical professionals.
For example, all of South Dakota has only three specialists in pediatric infectious diseases, all foreign born (from Argentina, Colombia, and India).
Foreign medical graduates also provide invaluable contributions to scientific research: 18 percent of all biomedical research and 18.5 percent of clinical trials were conducted or led by immigrant students.