The UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic is a clinic devoted to providing free medical care to the underserved population of migrant farm workers in Connecticut. These farm workers come to the United States from abroad on a work visa to help during the harvesting months. They work in apple orchards, tobacco farms, and even horse farms. These workers are some of the most economically disadvantaged groups in Connecticut and they have been the most medically vulnerable. Because they are here for a few months at a time, they do not have health insurance. Due to this, the UConn school of medicine and the Connecticut Area Health Education Centers Program came together to aid this population.
During the summer and early fall, we as a group go to different farms across Connecticut. We leave from UConn Health in Farmington and bring all of our equipment and volunteers to the farm. We travel to three different farms a week during the summer from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and one farm a week during the fall months from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. At the clinic, there is a group of high school students, undergraduate students, medical students, dental students, pharmacy students, physical therapy students, etc. Together we all come together to help these migrant farm workers overcome the barriers that would prevent them from receiving health care otherwise.
At the clinic, there is a registration table where we sign the patient in and gather relevant health information. After registration, they are brought to the vitals station where high school students and undergraduate students take the patient’s blood pressure, blood glucose, height, and weight. After this is completed, the patient is ready to see a medical team which consists of a first-year medical student doing the medical encounter, an interpreter if needed, and any student who would like to shadow. After this is complete, the medical student will then present their patient to a physician who is there to help during that night. Next the physician will go and speak to the patient and will prescribe any medication if needed with the help of the pharmacy students and pharmacists. It is truly a team effort and it is such an amazing way to learn how to work in such a large group setting.
I have been involved with the clinic for three years now. I started out as an interpreter, then I was promoted to becoming one of the vital station leaders. I lead training sessions for undergraduates and high school students who will be attending a clinic and teach them how to take blood pressure and blood glucose at UConn Health. During the clinics, I work alongside the volunteers to make sure they do not feel overwhelmed when encountering their first patient. I also supervise the volunteers to make sure they are conducting the correct protocol when dealing with the patients. After the volunteers are finished, I then help transfer the patient to the medical students, so the medical encounter can begin.
This clinic is truly amazing and the work we do helps these farm workers tremendously. They always feel so grateful for having us there. I hope to continue being a part of this amazing group for many years.
To find out more information about this clinic, check out the Migrant Farm Worker Clinic page on the UConn Health website.