Skip to main content.

The Story Behind the Story: Farida Jhabvala Romero Discusses Health Program on the Chopping Block

A special series by the Reporting on Health Collaborative

About This Series

Many immigrants feel isolated in America – suffering that can turn toxic over time.

Six news outlets joined together as the Center for Health Journalism Collaborative to highlight the interplay between immigration status and health. The USC Annenberg project involves Mundo Hispánico (Atlanta), New America Media (California and New York), Radio Bilingüe (Fresno and Washington), WESA Pittsburgh, Univision Los Angeles and Univision Arizona.

The Story Behind the Story: Farida Jhabvala Romero Discusses Health Program on the Chopping Block

Farida Jhabvala Romero produced a radio story about a health program serving undocumented immigrants. But the program's future is in jeopardy.

Fresno County’s Medically Indigent Services Program is one of nine in California through which undocumented immigrants can access health care. But the county is looking to cut the program because of a lack of funding.

The Radio Bilingüe reporter featured Natividad, a woman already struggling to make the program work for her.

Natividad, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, can’t read or write and has trouble understanding what the doctor says during her visits.

“Natividad really illustrated some of the big challenges that immigrant communities have to access health care,” said Romero.

Hear more in the interview below.  And check out the complete story here.


Thirty years ago, Fresno County was obligated to provide care to everyone who needed it, regardless of their immigration status. Now a judge has determined that the county no longer has to offer them medical services.

While children show different responses to early trauma, depending on factors such as their age, coping mechanisms, and family support, experts say that research shows that witnessing a parent's arrest or deportation leads to a complex series of problems.

Exhausted from the burden of her age and diabetes, Juana now pays more attention to the news. She recently learned of a California proposal to offer health insurance to people who are undocumented.

A Mexican-American woman decided to convert her house into a health insurance registration center. She invited her family and neighbors, most of them uninsured. Could this be a model strategy to sign up more Latinos?

All California counties have to offer a minimum of free or very low-cost health services to uninsured, low-income residents who do not qualify for subsidized health insurance and cannot pay for private insurance. But one county is trying to change this.

The consequences of separating parents from children can include causing or exacerbating mental health problems such as depressive or anxiety disorders.

In 2014, fellows Alonso Yáñez and Annabelle Sedano collaborated on a project highlighting shortcomings in detention facilities for undocumented immigrants operated by for-profit companies. As Obama reconsiders outsourcing detention centers, this project offers early warnings of problems to come.

Fatal errors and lack of adequate medical care in immigration detention centers bring suffering to detainees and their families.

As many as 1 in 4 of those detained have chronic medical conditions. Medical neglect can lead to deteriorated health and, in Fernando Dominguez Valdivia's case, death.

A Mexican father is released from detention thanks to a psychological evaluation used as evidence in court.