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International Experience of US Pediatricians and Level of Comfort Caring for Immigrant Children and Children Traveling Internationally

Authors: 
Butteris SM, Leyenaar JK, Leslie LK, Turner AL, Batra M
Year: 
2020
Journal: 
Journal of Pediatrics
Key Words: 
Abstract: 

Objective
To determine whether international experience is associated with greater comfort in providing care to US children who are immigrants, refugees, and traveling internationally.

Study Design
Following enrollment into the 2018 American Board of Pediatrics Maintenance of Certification program, general pediatricians and subspecialists received a voluntary, online survey with questions about their experience and self-reported comfort caring for immigrant, refugee, and internationally traveling children and previous international experiences. Using multivariable logistic regression, we examined how previous international experiences, and other personal characteristics, were associated with self-reported comfort.

Results
A total of 5461 eligible participants completed the survey; 76.3%, (n = 4168) reported caring for immigrant children, 35.8% (n = 1957) cared for refugee children, and 79.8% (n = 4358) cared for children traveling internationally. High levels of comfort caring for immigrant children were reported by 68.5% (n = 3739), for refugee children by 50.1% (n = 2738), and for children traveling internationally by 72.7% (n = 3968). One-third of respondents (34.1%, n = 1866) reported past international experiences. In multivariable analysis, respondents with previous international experience and of Hispanic origin were significantly more likely to report high levels of comfort caring for all 3 populations.

Conclusions
The majority of pediatricians report caring for children in the US who are immigrants, refugees, and traveling internationally, and previous international experience was associated with greater comfort with care. Training programs and professional organizations should consider ways to encourage a more diverse workforce and to support all pediatricians in achieving the skills and confidence required to care for children in our highly mobilized society.