2016 Conference for Agricultural Worker Health
This week, Migrant Clinicians Network’s Karen Mountain, RN, MSN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, joined Ricardo Garay, Health Network Manager, at the 2016 Conference for Agricultural Worker Health in Portland, Oregon, organized by the National Association of Community Health Centers. This year’s conference aimed to bring together migrant clinicians and health advocates to showcase innovation, health center operational excellence, efforts to extend health insurance coverage to those left out of the ACA, and more.
A focal point of the conference was the Ag Worker Access 2020 campaign, which calls on migrant health centers nationwide to increase the number of new agricultural worker patients by 15 percent each year until 2020. Participants in the conference have been sharing tools and successful models in growing their agricultural worker patient population, and the important outcomes for agricultural communities. (See our recent Streamline article to learn more about the campaign and hear one health center’s strategies to increase access for agricultural workers.)
Ricardo presented Health Network in the context of creating a Patient Centered Medical Home that is inclusive to migrant populations. “Because migrant workers tend to have higher than typical rates of occupational and environmental health conditions, late diagnosis of preventable and chronic disease, significant levels of stress and trauma, neglected oral health care and complex social determinants of health, adaptations within the PCMH framework are necessary for positive health outcomes,” explained Ricardo.
Health Network was touted as an essential program to aid clinicians in serving patients effectively. “This program has saved lives. I have enrolled patients that were leaving, and without Health Network, I would have been unsure of their follow-up.” said Maridolores Valentin from Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (BJHCHS) in South Carolina.
Migrant Clinicians Network also surveyed conference participants regarding health center preparedness in regards to the Zika Virus. The results of this assessment will be used to design and implement targeted training and technical assistance for health center staff to effectively confront the challenges posed by the spread of the Zika Virus.
Karen sent an update from the conference to praise the tribute to Virgilio Licona, MD, during the opening plenary. “Virgilio's tribute really underscored what a huge hole was left in our world of passionate advocates,” Karen said. His tribute, watched by his family in attendance, included a corrido, a traditional ballad. “It was a moment of bitter beauty,” stated Karen.
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