An assesment of the benefits of medical tourism.


Drew B. Chen

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Master of Medical Humanities


In Chapter One I will establish a context for this thesis by furnishing basic information about the practice of medical tourism. After a brief history of medical tourism, I will endeavor to define it as it relates to this thesis, and I will set forth a number of assumptions that will form the basis for the exploration of medical tourism's secondary social and economic effects. In Chapter Two I will examine the idea that medical tourism conveys a wide array of social and economic benefits to American medical tourists and the United States at large. First, I will survey arguments and opinions in the literature that support this view. I will then examine the counterarguments and opinions that suggest the effects of medical tourism are either of no benefit or are detrimental to the consumer. In Chapter Three I will again survey commentary that suggests medical tourism is socially and economically beneficial, this time with respect to medical tourism providers and to the developing nations that host it. I will then survey opposing commentaries that contend that medical tourism providers and developing nations reap no reward from medical tourism, and that they may, in fact, be damaged by it. Chapter Four will be devoted to the connections between medical tourism and the migration of healthcare personnel. I will highlight how medical tourism has wide-reaching effects that warrant additional consideration on behalf of third parties. Chapter Five will be an evaluation of the arguments put forth in Chapters Two, Three and Four, and will lead this thesis towards its conclusion that medical tourism provides financial benefits primarily to the medical tourists themselves and results in minimal advantage or even harm to the developing nations that host it-- Excerpted from introduction.