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On the Path to Migrant Health: Gathering Information on Chemical Safety Trainings

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[Editor’s note: Alyssa Finley is MCN’s environmental and occupational health intern at the Salisbury, Maryland office. Finley is a senior at Salisbury University’s School of Social Work. Here, she gives us a glimpse into our post-webinar data collection world.] 

With the change in weather, there also comes a change in workload. Spring brings with it the hammering of nails and sounds of loud machinery, the planting of fields and landscaping, as well as a pick-up in tourism and housekeeping needs. As clinicians, do your clients or patients know rights on the job and how to stay safe? We at MCN want to equip you so that your clients and patients are informed.

MCN and the Ventanilla de Salud have been working together to bring chemical safety to the forefront of everyone’s mind with their most recent webinar, “Helping Community Health Promoters Promote Chemical Safety at Work.” As part of my work as an MCN intern, I have been doing interviews to help gather information on the training service MCN and the Ventanilla de Salud have provided.

I have learned so much with my internship at MCN and really appreciate the model of best practices they provide, as well as their collaborative nature to get the resources out there that people need. The first person I interviewed was a first-time webinar participant, who is an outreach coordinator at a clinic in Texas. When I asked him about the webinar overall, the participant responded, “It is a very good first step for our programs...This helps to give me an idea for where to start. For our population, language barriers are one of the biggest problems, and knowing resources are maybe not easily available, but can be made available is great. I’m glad that MCN has that information...available to us [through the website].” I am certainly in agreement with him as I have done my fair share of hunting for bilingual resources and what I have noticed about MCN is that if they can’t find the materials, they will make them, using best practices and credentialed input.

I also spoke with another participant of the webinar who is the Preventive Health Manager/Coordinator of a Ventanilla de Salud in Utah. She spoke of the lack of state capacity when providing services, and barriers to accessing health care for children and adults. “Another problem that is huge here is there are not many regulations or laws that protect workers, there are a lot of accidents and abuse towards community members -- mainly undocumented -- including low pay, no health insurance, no overtime,” she said. “If community members have a problem or accident, the state protects the employer.” I asked the participant if she thought the webinar session was effective and addressed chemical safety effectively. In response, she said, “Yes, for example, at the training, two of my promotoras were here and they didn’t know to ask about the chemicals being used and that employers have the obligation to provide these materials to them when requested.” Ultimately, even though laws and regulations are different across states, someone from another locality can receive information that is pertinent to their area. Not only can they themselves know and request these materials, but they can share them and spread awareness to others, creating a safer workplace for all.


Our recent webinar, “It’s your right to know! Helping Community Health Workers Promote Chemical Safety on the Job,” is one of our Community Health Worker series webinars that is viewable on MCN’s Archived Webinars page. View the resources that accompanied the webinar here.


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