Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSEd)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Dina Birman

Second Committee Member

Scotney D. Evans

Third Committee Member

Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado


In the U.S., immigrants and refugees are often unable to continue their profession after arrival. This paper describes a qualitative study of Cuban foreign-educated physicians (FEPs) who have attempted to integrate into the U.S. medical field. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Cuban FEPs who varied in age, gender, job, marital status, and amount of time in U.S. Participants were recruited via snowball sampling and thematic analysis was utilized to identify various pathways. Findings describe the importance of professional identity and how it influences participants’ transcultural process as well as their journey to find a “match” within the U.S. medical field. This study affirms the value of thinking ecologically about the migration experience by considering the needs of immigrants and refugees within their family units rather than solely as individuals. Furthermore, findings posit that occupational wellbeing for Cuban FEPs goes beyond economic goals, identifying professional identity as a central phenomenon.


Cuba and Cubans; U.S. refugee resettlement; social support; immigration and emigration; professional identity; foreign professionals