The Care of Foreigners


ACLS Fellowship Program


History of Science


This project explores the enduring consequences of postcolonial physician migration from Asia to the United States over the last sixty years. Under the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) were recruited to provide care in marginalized communities experiencing labor shortages across the country. Although the arrangement was conceived as a temporary stopgap, it has become a permanent feature of the US healthcare system with foreign physicians comprising at least a quarter of the physician labor force since 1965. Using historical and anthropological methods, this project traces the journey of foreign physicians through legal, clinical, political, and cultural spaces to excavate the contours and limits of inclusion available to this configuration of immigrant–a foreigner who is also an expert. The ubiquitous and integral presence of foreign physicians in the United States not only reveals the racialized operations of US medicine, it also makes visible how the political economy of care writ large operates in our globalized contemporary moment.