Arturo Vargas-Bustamante, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management
(310) 206-4744
(310) 825-3317


UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
650 Charles E. Young Drive South 31-299 CHS
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772
Health Care Disparities
Health Services in Developing Countries
Biographical Information: 
Areas of Interest: 
  • Latino Health Care
  • Immigrant Health Care
  • Cross-Border Health Care
  • International Health Care       

Professor Vargas Bustamante is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. He teaches HS200B Health Care Financing and Organization and HS209 Health Care for Vulnerable Populations. He conducts research in two fields: i) health care disparities and ii) health policy in developing countries. His health care disparities research focuses on population groups that are overwhelmingly uninsured or that have poor access to health care, predominantly among Hispanics/Latinos and immigrants in the United States. He also specializes in the statistical analyses of disparities in health care access, utilization, quality and insurance coverage. The outcomes of his research have had direct policy applications, particularly since they estimate the share of disparities that can be attributed to socioeconomic and demographic factors and the corresponding part associated to health system variables, such as usual source of care and insurance status. His research on health services in developing countries focuses in two areas: cross-border health care utilization and healthcare privatization and decentralization in middle-income countries, predominantly in Latin America.

Professor Vargas Bustamante holds a PhD (2008) in Public Policy, an M.A. (2006) in Economics and an M.P.P. (2004) all from UC-Berkeley. As part of his professional experience, he worked as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank and for the California Program on Access to Care, where he was responsible for the cross-border health insurance project. His professional career began in the Health Financing Administration of the Mexican Ministry of Health.

Selected Courses: 
HPM 200B "Health Systems Organization and Financing"
HPM 206 "Health Care for Vulnerable Populations"
Selected Publications: 

Peer-Reviewed Publications (in chronological order)

In print or press
1.Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Ojeda Gilbert, Castañeda Xóchitl, Willingness to pay for cross-border health insurance between the United States and Mexico. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 2009; 27(1): 169-78. 
2. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Fang Hai, Rizzo John A, Ortega Alexander N, Understanding observed and unobserved health care access and utilization disparities among US Latino adults. Medical Care Research and Review: MCRR, 2009; 66(5): 561-77. 
3. Rodríguez Michael A, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Ang Alfonso, Perceived quality of care, receipt of preventive care, and usual source of health care among undocumented and other Latinos. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2009; 24 Suppl 3: 508-13. 
4. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Fang Hai, Rizzo John A, Ortega Alexander N, Heterogeneity in health insurance coverage among US Latino adults. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2009; 24 Suppl 3: 561-6. 
5. Chen Jie, Fang Hai, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Rizzo John A, Ortega Alexander N, Latino disparities in prescription drug use and expenditures: a nationally representative analysis. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2010; 44(1): 57-69. 
6. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Chen Jie, Rodriguez Hector P, Rizzo John A, Ortega Alexander N, Use of preventive care services among Latino subgroups. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2010; 38(6): 610-9.  
7. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, The tradeoff between centralized and decentralized health services: evidence from rural areas in Mexico. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 2010; 71(5): 925-34.
8. Laugesen Miriam J, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, A patient mobility framework that travels: European and United States-Mexican comparisons. Health Policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2010; 97(2-3): 225-31.  
9. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Comparing federal and state healthcare provider performance in villages targeted by the conditional cash transfer programme of Mexico. Tropical Medicine & International Health: TM & IH, 2011; 13(4): 1251-9.
10. Chen Jie, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Estimating the effects of immigration status on mental health care utilizations in the United States. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health / Center for Minority Public Health, 2011; 13(4): 671-80.
11. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Chen Jie, Physicians cite hurdles ranging from lack of coverage to poor communication in providing high-quality care to latinos. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 2011; 30(10): 1921-9. 
12. Stoddard Pamela, Handley Margaret A, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Schillinger Dean, The influence of indigenous status and community indigenous composition on obesity and diabetes among Mexican adults. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 2011; 73(11): 1635-43. 
13. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Laugesen Miriam, Caban Mabel, Rosenau Pauline, United States-Mexico cross-border health insurance initiatives: Salud Migrante and medicare in Mexico. Pan American Journal of Public Health, 2012; 31(1): 74-80. 
14. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Fang Hai, Garza Jeremiah, Carter-Pokras Olivia, Wallace Steven P, Rizzo John A, Ortega Alexander N, Variations in healthcare access and utilization among Mexican immigrants: the role of documentation status. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health / Center for Minority Public Health, 2012; 14(1): 146-55. 
15. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Van der Wees Philip J, Integrating immigrants into the U.S. health system. The Virtual Mentor: VM, 2012; 14(4): 318-23. ,
16. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Chen Jie, Health expenditure dynamics and years of U.S. residence: analyzing spending disparities among Latinos by citizenship/nativity status. Health Services Research, 2012; 47(2): 794-818. 
17. González Block Miguel Angel, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, de la Sierra Luz Angélica, Martí­nez Cardoso Aresha, Redressing the Limitations of the Affordable Care Act for Mexican Immigrants Through Bi-National Health Insurance: A Willingness to Pay Study in Los Angeles. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health / Center for Minority Public Health, 2012; 70(3): . 
18. Chen Jie, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Ortega Alexander N, Health care expenditures among Asian American subgroups. Medical Care Research and Review: MCRR, 2013; 70(3): 310-29.
19. Chen Jie, Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Treatment compliance under physician-industry relationship: a framework of health-care coordination in the USA. International Journal for Quality in Health Care: Journal of the International Society for Quality in Health Care / ISQua, 2013; 25(3): 340-7.
Recently accepted for publication:  
20. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Menu Labeling Perception & Health Behaviors between Immigrant and U.S.-born Minority Populations: Assessment in Two Los Angeles Public Markets, Salud Pública (Forthcoming 2013)
21. Vargas Bustamante Arturo, Claudio A. Méndez, Healthcare Privatization in Latin America: What Explains Diverging Healthcare Privatization Policies in Chile, Colombia and Mexico?, Journal of Health Care Politics, Policy and the Law (Forthcoming 2013)
22. Vargas Bustamente Arturo, Jie Chen, Hai Fang, John Rizzo, Alexander Ortega N, Identifying Health Insurance Predictors and the Main Reported Reasons for Being Uninsured among U.S. Immigrants by Legal Authorization Status, Journal of Health Planning and Management (Forthcoming 2013)
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
M.A., University of California-Berkeley
M.P.P., University of California-Berkeley

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