Georgina Sanchez Garcia, a student in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IHS) Ph.D. program, was awarded $5,000 from the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life (IDCL) to support her research project on resilience among migrant children. | Photo courtesy UTEP
Georgina Sanchez Garcia, a student in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IHS) Ph.D. program, was awarded $5,000 from the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life (IDCL) to support her research project on resilience among migrant children.
Garcia is studying child migrants from Central America and Mexico with her faculty advisor, Professor Emeritus Mark Lusk, Ed.D., and has primary support from the Programa de Investigación en Migración y Salud (PIMSA) at the University of California, Berkeley. Sanchez has visited Tapachula, Mexico, on the border with Guatemala, where she conducted 38 interviews with migrant children.
Children and their families are migrating from the Northern Triangle of Central America due to the prevalence of social inequality, poverty, violence and corruption. Exposure to danger continues during their journey through Mexico and upon arrival in the United States.
Previous research with migrants from the region has shown that despite the trauma of the migratory experience, they exhibit remarkable resilience on their journey north. However, these investigations have been conducted with adults and adolescents and not with young children. As has been widely shown, the younger the child, the more serious the emotional damage. There is also limited understanding of the children´s migratory experience from their own perspective.
The research project will inform migration policy and contribute to trauma-informed treatment. It will also promote the recognition of the child with full rights of expression, social status and protection, regardless of the territory or nation, Lusk said.
“The plight of children, the most at risk among migrants, is an urgent scientific and humanitarian concern,” he added.
UTEP’s IHS Ph.D. program prepares graduates with the commitment, knowledge and skills to address complex health issues facing individuals, families and communities in the border region, across the country and abroad in an ethically and empirically grounded manner.
Author: Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications