Skip to main content

Providing Care in Rural Puerto Rico | 30 Days, 30 Clinicians

MNC Jose Rodriguez[Editor’s Note: Happy Birthday, Migrant Clinicians Network! To celebrate our 30th anniversary this month, we are highlighting one clinician each day who has been honored in 30 Clinicians Making a Difference​​​, in which we profile the work of 30 diverse migrant clinicians from across the country and abroad.]

One month ago, a family of four from Delaware was rushed to the hospital in the US Virgin Islands, after experiencing exposure to methyl bromide, a banned fumigant. The family’s two teenage sons are still in comas. The Environmental Protection Agency’s subsequent investigation, as to how a banned pesticide is still in use, has recently spread to Puerto Rico. (Both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, US territories, abide by EPA guidelines.)  

But the story of pesticide use in Puerto Rico is complicated. As Jose Rodriguez, MD, pointed out, most of the pesticides’ labels are printed in English. US Census data show that 84 percent of Puerto Ricans say they don’t speak English “very well.” Pesticide misuse and overexposure can result. Dr. Rodriguez, one of the 30 Clinicians Making a Difference, and one of just two international clinicians, launched a pesticide exposure prevention program at Hospital General Castañer, to help agricultural workers understand the risks of pesticides, and how to avoid exposure. Read Dr. Rodriguez’s whole story here.

Help us honor the work of Dr. Rodriguez by sharing his profile. And, make sure to check out the profiles of all 30 clinicians at the 30 Clinicians Making a Difference webpage.

Like our work? Consider making a donation to MCN to celebrate our 30th anniversary.