It’s a measure of how behind at work I am, that I missed posting the following article during Public Health Week (April 5-11 2010) and – yikes – also forgot that last week was officially National Library Week as declared by the American Library Association. Sorry!
This post describes a unique public service and community outreach effort provided by individuals who volunteer their clinical services to staff the Migrant Health Workers Clinic (MHWC), a medical-dental clinic for seasonal farm-workers in Connecticut.
This traveling health clinic was founded in 1997 by UCHC professor Dr. Bruce Gould (shown in the photo below with two patients at a clinic in 2008):
Here is are some facts and background about the mission of the Migrant Health Workers Clinic:
“ Migrant farm workers are among the most economically disadvantaged and most medically vulnerable groups in the United States having little, if any, access to health care or medication. In addition to barriers to access to health care that many citizens meet like affordable health insurance, language barriers, and lack of transportation, migrant workers also experience additional barriers such as fear of deportation, loss or garnished wages, and being dismissed or not invited back to work by the employer due to missed work or health issues. A coalition of local organizations, along with the University of Connecticut, has formed a network to overcome these barriers and attend to the health care needs of migrant and seasonal farm workers. “
“ The UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic opened its doors in 1997, with the aid of the Connecticut Area Health Education Program (CT-AHEC).… the clinic operates annually from June to October offering diagnostic and treatment options [to workers] for a variety of conditions, both acute and chronic, including primary care screenings, oral health screenings, distribution of medications for mild and self-limiting conditions, as well as preventive health education“.
Click here to view a list of health or social services agencies and non-profit organizations from throughout Connecticut that contribute funding, advisory services and personnel to staff the rotating schedule.
Many students from the University who are enrolled in professional programs in medicine, dentistry, pharmacology or nursing volunteer at the MHWC; some have chosen to participate in the Urban Service Track.
There is a special need for volunteers who are native Spanish speakers. For those graduate students interested in primary care – as well as developing their (medical) Spanish language skills – it is an excellent opportunity to practice hands-on health care, advising and counseling.
Next, a 2-minute video filmed in 2008, narrated by a UCHC medical student which shows a typical visit with patients at the end of their workday, held at a local farm: click here to watch.
Open a schedule showing 2009 locations in Connecticut where the medical and dental Migrant Health Worker Clinics were held (PDF file).
This week on the Public Health @ UConn Facebook page, the following announcement was posted (Apr 15 2010): “The 11th Annual UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic Symposium will be held on Tuesday, June 29th from 8:30-2:30 at the UConn Health Center in Massey Auditorium… Students – Mark Your Calendars! “
If you’re interested in keeping up-to-date with public health/service program announcements about activities at UConn Storrs or UConn Health Center, become a friend of Public Health@ UConn.
There is also a Learning Community in Public Health for undergraduates at Storrs campus. A recent newsletter from that group can be opened here.