Student Reflections on the Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health
Monday, March 13, 2017
Nha Truong, Osteopathic Medical Student
ATSU/SOMA-NWRPCA Campus Class of 2018
As a third year medical student, I am often occupied by exams, readings, course assignments, and being in clinic throughout the week. Therefore, being able to attend the NWRPCA 2017 Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health provided me a valuable opportunity to learn how health-care organizations adapt to the ongoing fluctuation of the political climate in the country as it pertains to providing care to patients. As a future health-care provider, I strongly believe that understanding the social determinants of health, which includes education, employment, safe home and neighborhoods, and access to quality food, health facilities, and transportation, is a significant aspect of providing care for patients. These factors have a strong impact on health outcomes; thus, it is imperative that I grasp how the recent changes in immigration policies negatively affect the migrant farm worker population socially, economically, mentally, and physically.
Furthermore, I had not heard of the topic of Promotoras until my attendance at the Western Forum. I find this a very relevant topic in regards to improving issues impacting the health of the community. Any individual can conduct a health analysis of a community; however, Promotoras create a connection as well as cultural bridge between community-based organizations, health-care agencies, and their respective communities to understand and underline the needs of the people within that community. Being a part of the community, the Promotoras are able to reach hard-to-reach populations, traditionally excluded racial/ethnic groups, and other medically under-served communities. I certainly believe that they play a key role in conducting Community Health Needs Assessments.
Another part of the Forum that left quite an impression on me was during the session that focused on patients’ barriers to obtaining transportation to the respective community health clinics; I witnessed the enthusiastic exchange of information from the participants to help improve their respective organization’s current transportation programs. Seeing everyone working together to extract as many resources as possible for their patients provided me a powerful reminder that we are all working together to help our patients to ultimately attain better health outcomes. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being a participant in the Western Forum as it allowed me to gain new knowledge and foster new relationships with the health-care community.
Chelsi Redpath, Osteopathic Medical Student
ATSU/SOMA-NWRPCA Campus Class of 2019
The Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health was an experience to remember. I was introduced to the idea of community health centers during my first year of medical school at ATSU. Attending this conference not only provided me with a more detailed and larger amount of information regarding the community health care system, but it also emphasized the heart and compassion of the people that bring everything together. From Community Health Workers to CEO’s, there is one common goal among them all, and that is caring for the underserved community.
The most interesting thing I learned was about Promotores. These are people from the community itself, whether they are patients or not, that go to great lengths to understand what care is needed and what barriers people face within the community to get adequate health care. For example, there is a population of Mixteco indigenous people in California that struggle to get health care because of language barriers. Mixteco is a language that is different from Spanish and has several types of language within it. Promotores represent and advocate for their communities not only to get information from them, but also give information to them. This information can include Diabetes care, prenatal care, or breast cancer screening. Promotores are able to receive specialized training in order to accomplish this so that they can better connect health care workers to the community they serve. After speaking with some Promotores, I learned that they have a great deal of passion and want nothing more than to serve. The knowledge I gained from this conference makes me even more excited to serve and continue to learn in a community based health center.
Katie Siri, Chelsi Redpath, Nha Truong, and Naveen Kanithi