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In the Field: MCN Hosts Training of Trainers with Ventanillas de Salud in North Carolina and California

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Training attendees pose with certificates

 

Every day, millions of workers face potentially life-threatening risks from hazards such as chemicals, machinery, ladders, and temperature extremes.  For immigrant workers, challenges including language and cultural differences and immigration status further their vulnerability and increase their risk of on-the-job injuries and even death.  In fact, foreign-born workers are more likely to die on the job than those born in the United States.

To help immigrant workers better protect themselves on the job, Migrant Clinicians Network has partnered with Ventanilla de Salud (VdS), a program based in Mexican Consulates throughout the US that provides health services and resources to vulnerable populations. As part of MCN’s project, “Filling the Gap in Worker Training: Capacity Building for Occupational Safety and Health,” supported by the Susan Harwood Capacity Building Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,, MCN staff traveled to Ventanillas de Salud in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Oxnard and Calexico, California, to conduct workshops on environmental and occupational health and safety. This project utilizes a training-of-trainers model in which MCN leads workshops with community health workers, who then offer trainings to workers within their communities. This year, our three partner VdS programs will train a total of 600 workers.

Senior Program Manager Alma R. Galván, MCH, and Project Coordinator Kate Kruse conducted three trainings in the different locations, reaching a total of 26 trainers who each participated in eight hours of training that covered subjects such as chemical exposure, musculoskeletal injuries, ergonomics, heat exposure, and workers rights and responsibilities.

For the first workshop, Galván and Kruse visited the office of the Mexican Consulate that presides over both North and South Carolina, where the VdS in Raleigh provides its services.

 

Kate and Alma pose with the hosts of the training

 

Throughout the course of the year, the VdS in Raleigh will receive technical assistance from MCN in order to incorporate the training topics into the services they provide to workers.  VdS in Raleigh, like the other two partner Ventanillas, will train at least 200 workers who are employed as farmworkers, restaurant employees, factory workers, construction workers, and cleaning personnel.

“The Ventanilla de Salud in Raleigh and their fiscal agent, El Centro Hispano, have so much passion and enthusiasm for their work and for justice for their community,” Kruse commented. “Through this visit, we were able to learn about the impact of their efforts while contributing to their ability to assist this community.”

“We took advantage of every moment of our visit, between visiting the Ventanilla; learning about El Centro Hispano’s programs such as Faith ID, Center of Employment and Leadership (CED), and their mobile clinics; and providing a training session to a very diverse group of trainers with incomparable enthusiasm,” Galván said.

The second training was conducted in Oxnard, California, with the fiscal agent of the Ventanilla de Salud, Visión y Compromiso, a network of community health workers in Southern California, whose work encompasses various counties and several cities.

 

Kate and Alma pose with VdS team in Oxnard

 

Galván expressed that the eight trainees at this location clearly understood and grasped the urgent needs of the migrant community and participated in the training with enthusiasm, knowing that it would greatly help them achieve their goals.

 

Giselle Lembo, the coordinator of the Ventanilla de Salud in Oxnard, said, “I am very excited to be working on this great project.”
MCN’s third workshop took place in Calexico, California, on the US-Mexico border. The fiscal agent of this Ventanilla de Salud is Pioneers Health Center, which is a community health center that serves the entire Imperial Valley od CA.

Training of Trainers in Oxnard, Ca

 

Giselle Lembo, the coordinator of the Ventanilla de Salud in Oxnard, said, “I am very excited to be working on this great project.”

MCN’s third workshop took place in Calexico, California, on the US-Mexico border. The fiscal agent of this Ventanilla de Salud is Pioneers Health Center, which is a community health center that serves the entire Imperial Valley od CA.

 

Training of trainers in Calexico, Ca

 

Adriana Buelna, the coordinator of the Ventanilla was grateful that MCN traveled to Calexico to train their small group. Buelna has very strong partnerships with other organizations such as the Department of Labor in California as well as Comité Cívico del Valle, an organization dedicated to providing health services and education to vulnerable populations within the Imperial Valley of California.  VdS Calexico will coordinate with these organizations in order to train a minimum of 200 migrant workers in the coming months.

“Even though we are a small group, we are ready to work,” Buelna said.

MCN staff expressed their excitement coming off these productive trainings, which they feel are key in their efforts to decrease on-the-job injuries and create a safer, healthier, and more informed worker population.

 

 

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