Josefina Flores Morales

Josefina Flores Morales’s primary interests follow two main lines of work: The occupational health and employment of undocumented middle-aged immigrants of Mexican origin; and the educational trajectories of newcomer youth and undocumented college students. Presently, Josefina is curious about how undocumented immigrants negotiate their employment and future plans as well as how their long-term employment in low-wage jobs influences their mental and physical health in the short- and long-term. In her doctoral program, she will gain quantitative skills in demography as well as qualitative skills in ethnographic methods in order to be able to reveal the nuanced narratives of adult immigrant workers using mixed-methods. Her research in both health and education hold great implications for health policy at the local and national level.

Josefina is a first-year doctoral student studying demography in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. She recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Public Health. As a teenager, Josefina worked as a trombone player in a Mexican band for five years. She worked throughout her undergraduate career in this job and others in several nonprofit organizations (legal and mental health focused). Her own employment trajectory is vastly distinct from that of her mother’s and those of many members of her community, of which a large proportion are undocumented. She believes it is a ripe time to address the health of marginalized undocumented communities—who have contributed much to the fabric of our present society and are the backbone of many local economies.

Three Essays on the Health of Immigrants and Undocumented Adults and Elders

The United States is increasing in demographic diversity, especially among immigration. Alongside shifting racial and ethnic composition, comes variations in immigration status. Previous researchers have identified the fact that immigrants tend to be healthier and live longer lives compared with non-immigrants of similar race/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. However, few of these studies have examined the implications of differences in immigration status for health in middle age and older age. Immigration status is an incredible force of inequality that shapes access to education, occupations, social mobility, and healthcare access. All of these factors are reliably associated with health. This dissertation offers three distinct but related studies on the negative effects of immigration status on health in older-age and across the life course.



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