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In the Field: Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health

MCNThis week, clinicians and health justice advocates from across the West Coast have gathered in Portland, Oregon for the 2016 Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health. The Western Forum features over 30 breakout sessions, and MCN is proud to co-facilitate three of those sessions, addressing key issues at the forefront of migrant health. 

Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez, MD, MPH, CNC, Senior Advisor for Scientific and Strategic Planning for MCN, offered a session yesterday entitled, “Models for Addressing Oral Health Disparities” with Laura Flores Cantrell, Senior Program Officer at Washington Dental Service Foundation. The session reviewed models to improve oral health in underserved communities, including MCN’s recent collaboration with Washington Dental Service Foundation on an oral health training for Community Health Workers. The MCN/WDSF training was designed to help CHWs increase general oral health knowledge and improve home habits and prevention skills, and identify dental resources in the area within the context of social, cultural, economic, structural, and geographic factors that affect oral health.

“During this session, we shared effective and sustainable strategies to engage Community Health Workers (CHWs), serving migrant farm workers, refugee, immigrants, and older adult populations, to address, and improve oral health in order to reduce health disparities, Dr. Ponce-Gonzalez said. 

MCNToday, MCN’s Director of Education and Professional Development, Jillian Hopewell, MPA, MA presents a session entitled “Migrant Students: Fostering Health Care Partnerships that Work for Kids and Their Families,” along with Tammy Alexander, MEd, from the School-Based Health Alliance. The session will adress the barriers to care that migrant families experience, and best practices to strengthen linkages between school-based health centers (SBHCs) and other organizations serving migrant students with Migrant Health Centers.  

Tomorrow, Kerry Brennan, MCN’s Environmental and Occupational Health Manager, will co-present with Chelly Richards, MS, MPH from Farmworker Justice and Derrick Terada from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region X, on the revised Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The session entitled,  “Parity for farmworkers?  A look at the new Worker Protection Standard and how we can help farmworkers and their families minimize their risks from pesticide exposures” will examine the revised WPS in detail. “It’s critical that health centers, community organizations, and enforcement agencies understand the revisions to the WPS,” Brennan emphasized. “We will explain the most substantial changes, then examine the roles and responsibilities of each involved party in the next and most important step: implementation.” The session will review the risks of pesticide exposure and the ways in which the revisions minimize some of those risks. The session also will cover materials to assist health centers in communicating those risks and workers’ rights to farmworkers, as well as resources for clinicians to help prevent, diagnose, and manage pesticide exposures.

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