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MCN Drives Forward Health Equity with $5 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott

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Migrant Clinicians Network’s exceptional work to advance health equity for migrant, immigrant, and asylum-seeking communities has been honored and elevated by a $5 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. With this gift, MCN plans to expand its programmatic efforts to serve the most underserved and marginalized in this nation, and the clinicians who have dedicated their lives to care for them.

“We have always pushed forward the health justice work that needs to be done – often even when the funding wasn’t available – because we know it’s the right thing to do. This important gift will allow us to continue what we do best: urgently and effectively filling in the significant gaps in care for migrants, immigrants, and asylum seekers, and listening, responding to, and supporting the clinicians who serve them,” said Karen Mountain, MBA, MSN, RN.

MCN has grown significantly in recent years, as funders recognized its critical role in building practical solutions at the intersection of migration, vulnerability, and health. This latest gift is the largest in MCN’s almost 38-year history.

“While [this gift] is exceptional in its recognition of what we have accomplished up to this point, it also sends a powerful message about the crucial need for our work in the future,” added Ashley-Michelle Papon, Project Coordinator in Outreach and Development.

MCN’s work is more urgent than ever. Migrants, immigrants, and asylum seekers are at increased risk of illness and injury due in large part to the structural inequities they face. While these communities are not a monolith, many migrants, immigrants, and asylum seekers encounter significant risks to their health as other members of the community. However, when they fall ill, they run into tremendous barriers to care, like mobility, language injustice, poverty, and the myriad inequities built into the US health care system. In recent years, poorly considered immigration policy, climate change, and the COVID pandemic have exposed and exacerbated pre-existing health equity issues and left millions of people without the basic care that is their human right.

The clinicians on the frontlines encounter their own obstacles in care when trying to pursue the routes they believe will best serve their patients. Structural racism, a lack of correctly channeled funding, administrative burdens, overwhelmed systems, poor community integration, and other barriers create moral injury for clinicians. In addition to supporting care for the most underserved in our country, MCN also provides extensive training, education, and support for well-being for the clinicians who are often overwhelmed and overworked, lacking the resources to do the job they know needs to be done.

MCN reduces or eliminates these barriers with powerful on-the-ground programs to support migrants directly, as well as up-to-date and culturally relevant technical assistance for clinicians like community health workers, and community leaders and health advocates. In 2021, MCN provided training to over 3,600 individuals, and collaborated with at least 676 organizations in education and technical assistance efforts. Health Network, our virtual case management system for migrants and asylum seekers, served thousands of patients, enrolling twice as many patients in 2021 than in the previous year, including hundreds of pregnant asylum seekers who urgently needed prenatal care after their release from detention.

In response to the gift, Mountain penned a thank you letter to Scott.

“With your gift of $5,000,000, we are encouraged to dream big, think carefully, and invest in what is critical that ensures the world continues to nurture the dreamers who were born to care,” Mountain wrote. “We will honor your belief in us by creating the greatest impact for the people we serve and by beginning a legacy of help for the future. YOU were born to care. Thank you.”

 

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