Farmworker Health ProgramThe Northwest has one of the largest migrant and seasonal farmworker populations in the country, estimated to be over 509,000 people in Washington, Oregon and Idaho alone. Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Northwest, a leading producer of apples, cherries, potatoes, onions, wheat, hops and Christmas trees among other fruits, vegetables, grains and commodities. Farmworkers are essential to the economic output and health of the Northwest's prominent agricultural industry, yet they are among the most marginalized and medically underserved populations in the region.
Providing health care services to farmworkers and their family members is a significant challenge as they experience multiple barriers to health care access, including extreme poverty, unfamiliarity with the culture and language, frequent mobility, and work and living arrangements that impede access to health care. Furthermore, due to the nature of their work, farmworkers are disproportionately affected by environmental and occupational hazards. For example, they are at increased risk for unintentional injury, pesticide exposure, respiratory problems, and heat-related illness or death. Moreover, farmworkers are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, and substance abuse and mental health conditions.
The goal of NWRPCA's Farmworker Health program is to maintain and strengthen services for migrant and seasonal farmworkers through coordination, community organizing, information sharing, partnerships and training among migrant health centers and allied organizations.