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Testing Agricultural Workers For COVID-19: A Learning Session with Frontline Clinicians


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Testing Agricultural Workers for COVID-19

DATE: October 1, 2020



In the absence of a national, evidenced-based testing strategy, decisions regarding the provision of COVID-19 tests for agricultural workers have been left to states, to counties, and, in many cases, to individual farms to manage. Migrant Clinicians Network stands for equitable and accessible testing that will slow the spread of COVID-19 among agricultural workers and rural communities. Agricultural workers, many of whom are immigrant and migrant, are essential workers critical to our food supply and we must work to ensure fair, equitable, and just access to testing and post-test care.  Achieving this aim during this pandemic has been challenging for clinicians on the front lines. During this learning session, we will hear from clinicians from North Carolina and Oregon as they share their successes and barriers to testing the farmworkers they serve.  We will also introduce MCN’s new testing guidelines along with an algorithm to assist providers as we continue to navigate this pandemic in the months to come.


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to…

  • Discuss challenges involved with testing agricultural workers for COVID-19

  • Identify the key components that need to be in place to have an effective and efficient testing program for essential agricultural workers.

  • Determine local resources and strategies to mitigate the challenges surrounding testing agricultural workers for COVID-19.




Eva Galvez, MD

Eva Gálvez, MD

Dr. Gálvez is a board-certified family physician at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Oregon, where she manages a busy panel of patients, most of whom are Spanish speaking and immigrants. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2004 and has been working in federally qualified health centers since her residency training. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and agricultural workers she has a special interest in the health issues facing immigrant families and agricultural workers. She is committed to providing high quality, compassionate, and culturally appropriate care to the people of her state. Dr. Galvez also serves as a teacher for family medicine students, helping to train future generations of family physicians and bringing awareness to future doctors regarding the barriers and social determinants affecting immigrants. She has served as a family medicine clinical instructor for University of Washington School of Medicine and currently serves as a clinical preceptor for family medicine residents from the Wright Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and currently serves on the scientific advisory on the Project to Prevent and Reduce Adverse Health Effects of Pesticides on Indigenous Agricultural workers. Dr. Galvez is also the board chair of Migrant Clinicians Network. 


Gayle Thomas

Gayle Thomas, MD

Dr. Gayle Thomas serves as the medical director of the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program, a statewide voucher program supporting outreach workers to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. She also is an assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina and enjoys bringing medical students and residents with her to care for agricultural workers on a mobile medical van in Benson, NC. Prior to this position, she worked as a family physician for 23 years at the Carrboro Community Health Center with primarily Spanish-speaking patients. She grew up in Napa, California and did her medical training in Los Angeles. She was born in Tandala, Democratic Republic of Congo to missionary teachers. Dr. Thomas is a board member of Migrant Clinicians Network. 


Laszlo Madaras, MD, MPH

Laszlo Madaras, MD, MPH

Dr. Laszlo Madaras is the Chief Medical Officer for MCN, overseeing all MCN’s clinical activities. Since 1996, Dr. Madaras has worked in both inpatient and outpatient medicine in pediatrics, adult medicine, and obstetrics in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania at the Keystone Health Center which included treating mobile agricultural workers. He was the Assistant Medical Director at the Keystone Community Health Center from 2001 to 2005.  He then joined the new hospitalist program at the Chambersburg and Waynesboro Hospitals in south central Pennsylvania where he continues to work now part time. In 2016 he became a Senior Fellow of Hospital Medicine. In addition, Dr. Madaras has worked with MCN's Dr. Zuroweste as a staff physician in tuberculosis control at the Pennsylvania State Health Department since 2012, and regularly teaches American medical students on an international health rotation in Honduras. Dr. Madaras also teaches hospital medicine to Penn State nurse practitioner and physician assistant students and medical residents at Summit Health. Prior to this, Dr. Madaras worked on a research team investigating proteins involved in muscular dystrophy at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and worked abroad in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire), Gabon, West Africa, Hungary and on the Congo/Rwandan border. 

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