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Medical Center Hour: Eram Alam, "The Care of Foreigners"

by Kimberley Barker on 2024-02-08T10:52:00-05:00 | 0 Comments



A program of the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics 

University of Virginia School of Medicine 


Provided by the University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing 

This History of the Health Sciences Lecture is co-sponsored by the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Historical Collections

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

12:00-1:00 p.m. (EST) 

 Zoom Webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85229005887 


Eram Alam, PhD
Assistant Professor in the History of Science Department

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Dominique Tobbell, PhD, Moderator

Professor & Director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring 

Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, UVA


The Care of Foreigners

Covid-19 made apparent a major deficit in the US healthcare system: physician supply was unequal to medical care demand. To urgently address this mismatch, states allowed retired physicians to reenter the workforce, the federal government issued regulations bypassing state licensing rules, and even the Trump White House took this urgent need into account. In his June 22, 2020 “Proclamation Suspending Entry to Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak,” President Trump made a notable exception: healthcare professionals able to provide “medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19” were welcome to enter the country. This strategy has a long history. Since at least the 1960s, the US has trained fewer doctors than it needs, relying instead on the economically expedient option of soliciting immigrant physicians trained at the expense of other countries. This talk explores the economic, political, and social conditions that inaugurated this migratory regime. Initiated during the Cold War with the passage of the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, this bill expedited the entry of Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) from postcolonial Asian and sent them to provide care in shortage areas throughout the country. Although conceived as a short-term stopgap measure, this practice has continued unabated for the last sixty years effectively allowing organized medicine and the federal government to defer substantive structural changes in distribution and access to care. 


1.   Alam, Eram. “Teeth Cleaning in Tijuana: Healthcare Across the US-Mexico Border” (In

preparation, Medical Anthropology).

2.   Alam, Eram. “The Logistical Body.” (In preparation, Public Culture).

3.   Alam, Eram. The Care of Foreigners. (Under contract, Johns Hopkins University Press).

Accreditation & Designation Statements

The University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing designates this live activity for a maximum of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.TM Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing awards 1 contact hour for nurses who participate in this educational activity and complete the post activity evaluation.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing awards 1 hour of participation (consistent with the designated number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM  or ANCC contact hours) to a participant who successfully completes this educational activity. The University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing maintains a record of participation for six (6) years.


The following speakers and planning committee have no personal or professional financial relationships with a commercial entity producing healthcare goods and/or services. Speakers Prof. Eram Alam, Dominique Tobbell, PhD; Planning Committee: Jim Childress, PhD; Marcia Childress, PhD; R.J. Bonnie, LLB; R. Carpenter, DNP; Mary Faith Marshall, PhD; Justin Mutter, MD, MA; Kathryn Reid, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, CNL; Lois Shepherd, JD.

Disclosure of faculty financial affiliations 

The University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing as a Joint Accreditation Provider adhere to the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, released in December 2020, as well as Commonwealth of Virginia statutes, University of Virginia policies and procedures, and associated federal and private regulations and guidelines. As the accredited provider for this CE/IPCE activity, we are responsible for ensuring that healthcare professionals have access to professional development activities that are based on best practices and scientific integrity that ultimately supports the care of patients and the public. 

All individuals involved in the development and delivery of content for an accredited CE/IPCE activity are expected to disclose relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies  occurring within the past 24 months (such as grants or research support, employee, consultant, stock holder, member of speakers bureau, etc.).  The University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing employ appropriate mechanisms to resolve potential conflicts of interest and ensure the educational design reflects content validity, scientific rigor and balance for participants.  Questions about specific strategies can be directed to the University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. 

The faculty, staff, CE Advisory Committee and planning committee engaged in the development and/or peer review of this CE/IPCE activity in the Joint Accreditation CE Office of the School of Medicine and School of Nursing have no financial affiliations to disclose.

Disclosure of discussion of non-FDA approved uses for pharmaceutical products and/or medical devices 

As a Joint Accreditation provider, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and School of Nursing, requires that all faculty presenters identify and disclose any off-label or experimental uses for pharmaceutical and medical device products. It is recommended that each clinician fully review all the available data on new products or procedures prior to clinical use.

Eram Alam, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the History of Science Department at Harvard University. She specializes in the history of medicine in the long twentieth century with a particular emphasis on US healthcare, race, migration, and the political economy of care. Her first book, The Care of Foreigners on which this talk is based, will be out later this year with Johns Hopkins University Press. Alongside this project, she completed an edited volume called Ordering the Human: The Global Spread of Racial Science that will be out in May 2024. Her next major project explores logistics and medical tourism.

Dominique Tobbell, PhD, Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing and director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing History of Inquiry at the University of Virginia. Dr. Tobbell’s research examines the complex political, economic, and social relationships that developed among academic institutions, governments, and the health care industry in the decades after World War II and assesses the implications of those relationships for the current health care system.   

How to claim Continuing Education (CE) credit:

Thank you for attending the

Medical Center Hour on February 21, 2024

  1. Go to www.cmevillage.com
  2. Click on the “Learning Portal” button and select “CE Certificate”. 
  3. Sign in with your email and password or create an account if you are a new user. 
  4. Enter CE Activity Code XXXXXX and click “Submit” and “Continue”. 
  5. Complete the evaluation and click “Done”. 
  6. Certificate Preparation; indicate the number of credits you wish to claim for attending this activity. Click “Submit”
  7. Click “Print Certificate” or you can access later by visiting our website, Click “Learning Portal”, Sign in at the top of the page and click “Credit History & Past Certificate”. 
  8. For problems, contact the CME office at uvacme@virginia.edu

PLEASE NOTE: The post activity evaluation will only be available for a 30 day period. Credit will not be issued after the evaluation period has closed.

Medical Center Hour is free of charge and open to the publicFor more information, see Center for Health Humanities and Ethics: https://med.virginia.edu/biomedical-ethics/medical-center-hour/

Watch Medical Center Hour recordings at https://www.youtube.com/user/UVAMCH

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