April 11, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Discusses Undocumented Immigrants and Healthcare April 20

VALDOSTA — The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State University will present “Clinica de Migrantes” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20, in the Student Union Theater. Admission is free of charge to this film screening and open to all students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, and friends of Blazer Nation.

Directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin for HBO, “Clinica de Migrantes” tells the story of Puentes de Salud, a volunteer-run clinic that provides free medical care to undocumented immigrants in South Philadelphia, shared Paige Krispin, instructor and undergraduate nursing director in VSU’s School of Nursing. The 40-minute documentary follows the clinic’s healthcare staff and patients through months of routine care and growth.

According to an HBO synopsis, the film “goes beyond the politicized rhetoric to show the faces of real people in the middle of the immigration debate, asking if America can continue withholding basic necessities from an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Underserved, undocumented immigrants with medical issues often end up in emergency rooms as a costly last resort and can be charged thousands of dollars for little more than an aspirin. Puentes de Salud and similar clinics across the country are trying to address this issue and provide care for these men, women, and children.

“‘Clinica de Migrantes’ paints a compassionate portrait of patients at Puentes de Salud, many of whom left their families behind to perform physically exhausting labor in America for meager wages, and follows the tireless staffers who treat around 10,000 patients each year with limited space and little funding. As Puentes plans a larger facility to accommodate rapidly increasing demand, Executive Director Dr. Steve Larson and his team must find a way to keep their practice running despite obstacles at every turn.

“As it opens a new permanent location, Puentes de Salud is confident it can serve as a beacon of hope in a difficult landscape. Though the United States continues to relegate undocumented immigrants to the margins of society, the country must also confront the fact that this is, in the words of Dr. Larson, ‘the new face of America.’”

The evening will begin with a brief introduction by Larsen. After the screening, he will answer questions from attendees.

Krispin said that this event is especially ideal for immigrants and their children, community leaders, and faith leaders, as well as students and professionals in the fields of healthcare, sociology, anthropology, social work, and education.

“Clinica de Migrantes,” Krispin explained, puts a face to millions of immigrants who are excluded from societal norms, “displaced from their homelands, separated from their families, unfamiliar with the customs, unable to obtain health insurance, and terrified to come forward to seek medical help.” It “shines a light on the heroic doctors and nurses who work pro bono to ensure these people receive care, offering a deeply moving look at the limitless potential of humanity.” 

“Philadelphia is but one area of the United States grappling with the issues of immigration and immigrants, whether documented or undocumented,” she continued. “In South Georgia, there is a large immigrant population with whom we often live and work side by side, without ever giving thought to the problems and barriers they face, especially when it comes to healthcare. Whether we are aware or not, no one is untouched by the issues of immigration in the United States and South Georgia.”

Please contact Paige Krispin at apkrispin@valdosta.edu or (229) 249-4930 to learn more.

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