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MCN is a trusted source of essential clinical information about emerging primary care issues that occur at the intersection of health and mobility. To best assist clinicians working with migrants, MCN provides a menu of services to meet a variety of needs. MCN engages in research, develops appropriate resources, advocates for migrants and clinicians, trains providers, engages outside partners, and runs programs that support clinical care on the frontline of migrant health.
MCN currently has several areas of programmatic focus, while remaining nimble and responsive to issues that arise in clinics throughout the country. At present, MCN has specific initiatives in the areas of occupational/environmental health, family violence prevention, cancer prevention and survivorship support, and continuity of care/bridge case management for mobile patients. Other areas of expertise include immunization, infectious diseases, global health, chronic illness, and health promotion.
Much of MCN’s work is driven by the needs of clinicians requesting assistance. In order to respond effectively to any issue that arises, MCN draws on internal staff resources, a cadre of migrant health experts, a supplemental list of supporting contacts, and a library of technical assistance material to handle the requests as they arrive.
The response to technical assistance requests that MCN provides differs significantly depending on the information and topic sought. The following examples illustrate the range of technical assistance MCN furnishes specific to agricultural work and environmental and occupational health:
- During a site visit to an M/CHC, the medical director raised health and safety concerns about the absence of Spanish language pesticide labels for workers. MCN staff researched the issue, engaged key partners and then petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address this important regulatory oversight.
- More comprehensive technical assistance occurs when a M/CHC asks for MCN’s assistance in an ongoing issue. For instance, a clinic may ask MCN to provide training and ongoing technical assistance for its staff on how to incorporate agromedicine into primary care.
- In response to requests from clinicians, MCN and its partners, through a peer review process, developed a prioritized set of environmental and occupational health questions for use in the primary care setting.
- MCN partners with experts in agromedicine to develop, review and/or distribute relevant clinical tools in environmental and occupational health. For instance, the Northeast Center for Agricultural and Occupational Health (NEC) developed the Migrant Farmworker Occupational Health Manual, a clinical reference guide on the hand-harvest work environment in agriculture. MCN reviewed and endorsed the manual and distributes it via its website, where it averages approximately 1,000 unique hits per quarter.
- Other technical assistance offerings are more long term and open ended. For instance, a newly established migrant clinic, or “new start,” will need ongoing support and resources as the center begins providing quality health services to migrants.
MCN disseminates clinically relevant information via a number of sources including: through MCN’s bi-monthly clinical publication Streamline, technical assistance, workshops at conferences and on-site at clinics, via MCN’s website, and through various partners.