Flocking South For the Winter: Exploring Health Care Access and Use by Canadian International Retirement Migrants While Abroad; by Valorie Crooks

February 16, 2018
Broad Auditorium, Pepper Center

Every year tens of thousands of retired Canadians escape the harshness of the winter months by relocating to warmer climates abroad. The United States is a very popular destination for these travellers, who are affectionately known as ’snowbirds.’ Building off of an established research program focused on transnational health care mobilities, in this seminar I present the first steps toward undertaking sustained research into health care use and access among Canadian international retirement migrants while abroad, as well as the implications for their health care use at home. First I will provide an overview of existing research by presenting the results of a structured scoping review exploring the factors motivating short-term international retirement migration. I will then move to discuss the findings of interviews conducted with international retirement migrants in Cozumel, Mexico regarding their access to pharmaceuticals while abroad. Finally, I will explore the ways in which treating this mobile patient group in destination hospitals poses for challenges for health care providers and administrators by discussing the findings of focus groups recently conducted in Arizona. I will conclude by considering important implications that emerge across these distinct analyses as well as by identifying future research directions.


Dr. Valorie Crooks (valoriecrooks.org) is a professor in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada). She is a health geographer who specializes in health services research. She currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies and a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She is founding editor of Springer’s new Global Perspectives on Health Geography book series and is also lead editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Health Geography.