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Environmental and Occupational Health

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PHOTO: Farmworker in cranberry field

There are numerous barriers to recognizing and treating work-related health problems at the primary care level. One of the underlying reasons that addressing work-related health is a challenge is the limited occupational health training front line providers receive.  Institutional challenges can also prevent clinicians from adequately addressing work-related health problems. For migrant farmworkers and other vulnerable populations working in hazardous occupations such as construction, an occupational injury or exposure is often the reason for a first point of contact with the health care system, underscoring the need to consistently address work-related health concerns at the primary care level.

Since its inception, MCN has worked to eliminate health disparities among migrant and seasonal farmworkers.  In particular, MCN focuses on occupational health disparities because many migrants are at higher risk for injuries and other health problems due to their work. MCN assists frontline providers to integrate occupational and environmental health practices into primary care to strengthen the quality of care and meet the unique healthcare needs of the migrant population. MCN recognizes that migrant clinicians, like the majority of primary healthcare providers, generally do not consider work-related health when consulting their patients, despite the fact that they are serving migrants employed in high risk occupations.  Given the competing demands and severe time constraints in a primary care setting, healthcare providers struggle with ways to incorporate occupational medicine practices into their day to day efforts. 

For more information on MCN's response to environmental and occupational challenges in primary care, visit MCN's Environmental and Occupational Health Initiative webpage.

For questions about MCN's Environmental and Occupational Health Initiative, please contact Amy Liebman.

**MCN’s EOH efforts are largely supported through cooperative agreements with the US Environmental Protection Agency as part of their National Strategies for Health Care Providers: Pesticide Initiative. The conclusions and opinions expressed herein are those of MCN and do not necessarily reflect the positions and policies of the U.S. EPA.