April 8, 2013

David Wright, McGill University

Historical Perspectives on the Post-War Indian Medical Diaspora

Department of the History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania

Time: 3:30pm
Location: 337 Cohen Hall, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: The transnational migration of doctors is one of the most important and controversial topics in global health policy and ethics. There are, however, important historical precedents to the physician ‘brain drain’ or recent years. During the early late 1960s and early 1970s, for example, many western countries --- including the United States and Canada—were licensing more foreign-trained doctors than they graduating domestically. Within this acceleration of transnational physician migration, India figured prominently as the source country with the largest absolute numbers of emigrating physicians, estimated at the time to constitute about 15,000 physicians annually. Over the course of ten years, tens of thousands of physicians left the Indian sub-continent to establish practices in the West. There has been little historical scholarship, however, on this influential medical diaspora, with many ‘national’ histories of post-war medical services paying little attention to the impact and influence of foreign-trained doctors. This presentation will analyze the transnational migration of doctors born in the Indian sub-continent, using as a case study those who would be first licensed in Canada during the years 1967-1975

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