In 2003, the Health Initiative of the Americas (HIA) and the California Program on Access to Care (CPAC), under the auspices of the University of California, Berkeley partnered with key Mexican institutions and launched its first Request for Proposals (RFP) on Migration and Health, focusing on Mexican immigrants in the United States. In 2006, the executive committee (made up of primary contributors) named this effort the Research Program on Migration and Health (PIMSA for its Spanish acronym) and expanded participation to other academic institutions in the United States. PIMSA funds binational research teams whose research proposals focus on migration and health within current policy contexts. Both preliminary and final results of these projects have been presented in public policy forums attended by academic researchers, key stakeholders, and policy makers from Mexico and the United States. Many of these projects have subsequently obtained follow-up funding to continue their research. The results of these projects have been disseminated as public policy documents directed to decision-makers and the media. In 2009, PIMSA expanded the RFP to include dissertation grants of up to $5,000 for graduate students.
This cycle is open to researchers from any University of California campus, all California State University campuses, University of Arizona, University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas at El Paso, working in collaboration with researchers fromt eh National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT for its Spanish acronym) accredited Mexican institutions and la Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) or from Mexico’s Secretariat of Health research institutions.
Policy Brief Training
In the arena of migrant health, almost every research question has a policy implication, given the public and political attention now focused on this population. However, for research to be useful in the policy process, the researchers must understand that process and reflect its needs in the design and presentation of research findings.
Once PIMSA researchers have completed their research studies, they attend a HIA-convened binational training session that will help them translate research findings into recommendations for policy change. A skilled trainer with extensive experience working with U.S. legislators teaches the researchers how to interpret their research findings from a policy perspective and produce effective policy briefs with recommendations that will engage policymakers. The trainer is also available to provide technical assistance to researchers in preparation for policy briefings. A Mexican legislator is also present to promote binational collaboration and make policy recommendations, as well as contributing reviews and general recommendations. These training sessions prepare the researchers for presenting at the policy briefings – a requirement of their grant agreement – of which can be held in Mexico or United States.