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  • We are in continuous talks with the Ukrainian community, as well as local and state government officials, to determine how to best serve this population.
  • We are advocating that refugees who were already pre-approved to come to Northeast Ohio have their refugee status honored.
  • Global Cleveland is keeping the international community engaged. We will connect them with and direct them to any resources that they may need.
  • Our team is convening with local nonprofits and companies in order to direct support and humanitarian aid to the proper destinations and maximize impact.

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Cleveland officials ready to welcome Ukraine citizens with 'open arms'

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Global Cleveland to help thousands of Ukrainian refugees find new homes in US

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Immigrant Women in Healthcare

Data Observations

By Collin Derrig

In two short years, the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed life as we knew it. It has also deepened our knowledge of and appreciation for the role which healthcare workers play in our society. Unfortunately, there is a key demographic essential to our healthcare system at large that is recognized more by the color of their skin or their accents they carry than by their life saving work. This demographic is Immigrant Women, and we all owe them a heartfelt ‘thank you.’ Sadly, female immigrant healthcare workers still often get lost in the big picture. The following observations will partially explain the important role immigrant women play both nationally and locally in healthcare.  

There are over 3.2 million foreign-born healthcare workers in the United States, comprising more than 17 % of the industry workforce. This is a disproportionate amount compared to the foreign-born percentage of the total population, only 13.7%. Of these 3 million+ immigrant healthcare workers, 2.39 million are female, or approximately 70%. While the most common career for foreign-born women working in healthcare is nursing (over 20%), these women are essential to the healthcare industry as a whole. Holding direct care roles such as physicians, home health aides, and therapists; as well as indirect care including administrative, technology, and other support staff, you will find an immigrant woman in every career in the healthcare industry. The national trend of immigrants being key here at home in Ohio and Cuyahoga County, however the details vary. Cuyahoga County is home to a total of 102,000 workers in healthcare related fields, while Ohio is home to a total of 867,000. Respectively there are 10,000 immigrant healthcare related workers in Cuyahoga County and 49,000 in the state. Interestingly, 1/5 of immigrant healthcare workers in Ohio reside in Cuyahoga County, while Cuyahoga County is home to only 1/10 of Ohio’s total population.  

Healthcare Workers in Cuyahoga County by Gender and Nativity (ACS 2019 5-year Estimates)

Taking a closer look, excluding administrative and other non-medical healthcare positions, there are an estimated 77,600 healthcare workers in Cuyahoga County. Out of this number, 7,000 are immigrants and over 4,500 are female immigrants. That there are more female immigrants than male immigrants working in healthcare is unsurprising as over 79% of the countys healthcare workers are female. Notably, immigrants as whole, and especially immigrant women play an outsized role as medical doctors. Although female immigrants comprise only around 6% of total healthcare workers in Cuyahoga County, they are 12% of all doctors and 30% of female doctors. Below are two charts showing in detail the proportion of immigrant women compared to other women across healthcare fields and their total numbers in said fields. 

Both nationally and locally, healthcare workers have felt an outsized impact from the pandemic.  According to numerous medical studies rates of depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues have greatly increased for medical staff over the course of the pandemic. These intense psychological and physiological effects are frequently worse for minority healthcare workers, including immigrants, who already face other challenges in the workplace. Healthcare workers are also at much higher risk of being exposed and infected with Covid-19 and experiencing its potential life altering effects compared to the general population. Cuyahoga County is home to almost 20% of the state’s immigrant healthcare workers we can safely assume they have been similarly adversely affected by the pandemic. Especially with our COVID-19 case rates at times being among the highest in the state and the entire county. The thousands of immigrant healthcare workers here in Cuyahoga County and throughout Ohio have been key to stemming the effects of the pandemic and protecting all our lives. Recognizing this important role they play is the bare minimum they are due. 

The data discussed above is just a small example of the key roles and impact that immigrant women play throughout our society. Immigrant women own businesses, hold essential jobs, and support families and entire communities. The millions of immigrant women that work in essential industries like agriculture, retail, food service, and shipping have been just as key to our survival during this pandemic as those working in healthcare. These contributions of international women have existed long before the pandemic and will undoubtedly continue to be a key to our success as a community in the future.   

To learn more about the impact of immigrant women, join Global Cleveland during our 2nd annual celebration of International Women’s Month Celebration throughout the month of March. You can find a link to our programming here