Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Ana Cueto, MA

Second Reader

Emily S. Mann, PhD


Health is a fundamental right for all humans, and every nation has a unique system for health care delivery. While the United States and Costa Rica follow two different welfare state models, there is still value in comparing the two countries. This project was inspired by my public health-based study abroad experience in Costa Rica in May 2018, which sparked a desire to learn more about the structures that form the health care system of each country. The United States has a more privatized and fragmented health care system, while Costa Rica has a public, universal health care system. Although different in many ways, the United States and Costa Rica have similar approaches when concerning the health of immigrants. In this project, I break down the structures that form each health care system, and delve into how having an immigrant status affects the maternal and child health outcomes of immigrant women. In both countries immigrant women find ways to access health care for their babies and themselves but are in general viewed by society as burdens on the health care system.

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