Several organizations team up to expand support for migrant workers

One Community Health staffer checks blood pressure for farm worker during break in harvest.

One Community Health staffer checks blood pressure for farm worker during break in harvest.

Founded more than 30 years ago to provide health education and services to migrant farmworkers in the Columbia River, One Community Health (OCH) is expanding its outreach this year in cooperation with several community partners.

Alicia Swift, OCH’s enabling services manager, said the partnership involves groups that also serve the same population.

“It simply made sense,” Swift says. “You’ve got all these local organizations working toward a common cause—supporting migrant farmworkers—and yet we felt if we all came together around the same table, we could probably do so much more.”

In addition to four solo visits to area farms during harvest season, OCH is teaming up with Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC) to lead three visits to farmworker camps this month and July.

In addition to OCH offering the usual nutrition and chronic disease education, glucose testing and blood pressure checks, it will now provide dental education, behavioral health screenings, plus education around heatstroke, dehydration and safety practices. Most of the outreach will be at orchards around The Dalles.

“MCMC employees have a long history of volunteering in the community,” says Denise Dietrich-Bokum, Coordinator for the hospital’s Serving Oregon Migrants by Offering Solutions (SOMOS) program.

“Many of our volunteers grew up in or near orchards, worked in agriculture, or just have a passion to help others.”

Volunteers register migrants, take vital signs, hand out hygiene kits, and provide information on resources in the community. Workers and their families who need to see a physical therapist or medical provider will be evaluated and treated, or referred for further treatment.

Other community partners include Fish Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, The Next Door, Oregon Food Bank, Gorge Grown Food Network, Klickitat Health Department, Skyline Hospital, Providence Hospital and Oregon Child Development Coalition.

“We’ve divvied up our responsibilities, so it should work out really well,” Alicia says. “Given all the plans with these agencies and the significant partnership with MCMC, these events will have more of a health-fair feel, rather than be like traditional outreach visits. It’s exciting—and it’s going to be huge!”

Farmworkers and their families who are screened for health care services and receive recommendations for additional medical, behavioral or dental health care can access the OCH Migrant Farmworker Clinic, which started June 19. Details are as follows:

Walk-in appointments for medical and behavioral health:

When: Monday-Thursday, 3-5:30 p.m. and Friday, 3-5 p.m., $25-$30 per visit (bring last paycheck stub to apply for sliding-scale discount)

Where: 1040 Webber St., The Dalles, OR 97031

Dental emergencies (call first, 541.296.4601):

When: Monday-Thursday, 3-5 p.m., $50 per visit with OCH discount

Where: 1040 Webber St., The Dalles OR 97031

For more information about the OCH migrant farmworker outreach, send e-mail to Alicia Swift or call 541.296.4601.


Miscellaneous, People, Services

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