José J. Escarce M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles
Email: Discipline: Medicine, Economics Expertise: Health Outcomes, Disparities, Health Economics, Immigration

Investigator Award
The Health of Mexican Immigrants in the United States: Acculturation or Cohort Effects?
Award Year: 2004 Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent are of Mexican origin, many of them recent immigrants. Despite the size and continued growth of this population, large gaps remain in our understanding of the factors that affect the health and health behaviors of Mexican immigrants. Co-investigators José J. Escarce, M.D., Ph.D. and Leo S. Morales, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., examine the health of Mexican immigrants by assessing the relative importance of acculturation and cohort effects. Their project, The Health of Mexican Immigrants in the U.S.: Acculturation or Cohort Effects?, explores the "Hispanic paradox" that is, the phenomenon of immigrants of low socioeconomic status who nevertheless are healthy and exhibit healthy behaviors. The co-investigators also examine apparent health declines among Mexican immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for many years and have become acculturated. Drs. Escarce and Morales analyze health trends in Mexico, the types of individuals who migrate, health differences among immigrants who arrived here over various time periods, and changes in immigration policy to assess future demands on the delivery and financing of U.S. health care.


José J. Escarce is professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and senior natural scientist at RAND. Dr. Escarce graduated from Princeton University, earned a master's degree in physics from Harvard University and obtained his medical degree and doctorate in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Escarce has served on the National Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, Research, and Evaluation of the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Advisory Committees of RWJF's Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program. He is past Chair of the Health Economics Committee of the American Public Health Association, and has served on numerous Institute of Medicine and National Research Council committees and panels. He was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Escarce was Deputy Editor of the journal Medical Care and is currently Senior Associate Editor of Health Services Research. His research interests include provider and patient behavior under economic incentives, access to care, racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, immigrant health, and the impact of managed care on cost and quality.