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Common Health Concerns in African Immigrants in the Us- Implications for the Family Physician

Jerome C. Okudo


Michael W. Ross

Jerome C. Okudo 1

Michael W. Ross 2

  1. School of Public Health University of Texas, Houston Texas 1

  2. Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 2

Pages: 44-49

DOI: 10.18488/journal.9/2016.3.4/

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African immigrants in the US encounter many issues on arrival to the US over time. The healthy immigrant effect (HIE) is a phenomenon that should be explored as many African immigrants lose their HIE on adoption of the ‘American lifestyle’. Family medicine practices in the US encounter a significant African immigrant population from different African countries, which is an underserved population. Highlighting their health issues will enable the family physician to become aware of their unique needs and manage these patients in their clinical practices. African immigrants tend to be viewed as ‘all from Africa’ when indeed Africa is a continent with 54 countries. Some of these unique health problems, though suffered by Americans may be differently manifested and therefore may require special management. Africans continue to migrate to the US and family medicine practitioners that are the first point of contact need to be educated to holistically manage them. Barriers to seeking health care and issues of physician patient relationship are important areas that also need to be explored in this special population.

Contribution/ Originality
This paper’s primary contribution is making family physicians aware of the individual needs of African immigrants from different countries. It emphasizes that unique medical conditions may present in different ways in this special population. It also emphasizes how respective African cultures may impact access to healthcare in the US.


Healthy immigrant effect, African, Immigrant, Hypertension, Diabetes, Mental health, HIV/AIDS.



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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s), which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.


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