Last week, students in grades 9-12 had the unique opportunity to hear from Dr. Steven Larson, co-founder of the social service agency Puentes de Salud (Bridges to Health), on the impact of current policy on the health and wellness of Latino immigrants. Dr. Larson and Puentes de Salud are featured in the HBO documentary Clínica de Migrantes, which shows the faces of real people in the middle of the immigration debate.
Our Upper Schoolers learned about the barriers immigrants face to healthcare, including fear, cost and access, mistreatment, language, and confusion surrounding the US healthcare system. They also learned about actions they can take – large and small – that can provide comfort and support to immigrant youth in struggling families, including reading a book to a child in order to open their eyes to a brighter world.
Reflecting on the value of Dr. Larson’s visit, Lex Meisel '20 said, “It’s our city, and immigrant health and prosperity is an issue that everyone should be educated on, not just medical professionals. Everyone, even students, can do something about it.”
Dr. Larson prioritizes speaking to students because of a life-changing experience as a child watching a documentary in school in the 1960s on migrant workers, which led him to work in the field as an adult. This experience formed the foundation for how he connects to the world. “In the United States, many of us are afforded certain privileges, some more than others, and it’s important to always be reminded of the realities of the world we’re living in."