News Release: Student Life

Jun. 4,  2010

Emory Nursing Students Offer Health Care Services to Migrant Farmers in South Georgia

News Article ImageNursing students care for migrant farm workers and their families in Moultrie, Georgia. View the slideshow: "Nursing Fields."

Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing faculty and students will travel to Moultrie, Ga., June 13-25 to provide valuable health care services to migrant farm workers and their families. Nursing faculty and students make the trip annually to the rural, agricultural community three hours south of Atlanta as part of the Farm Worker Family Health Program.

 There are more than 100,000 migrant and seasonal farm workers in Georgia. Migrant farm workers face more complex health issues than the general population because of the physical demands of their jobs, pesticide exposure, poor access to health care services, and substandard housing conditions.

For the past 16 years, participants in the Farm Worker Family Health Program have spent two weeks in June providing health care services to seasonal farm workers and their families in a four-county area in south Georgia, which includes Colquitt, Tift, Cook and Brooks counties. The nursing volunteers examine children by day and set up mobile clinics to treat adult farm workers in the evening.

"The care received in our program may be the only health care these workers and their family members receive the entire year," says Judith Wold, PhD, RN, a visiting professor in the Emory School of Nursing and director of the Farm Worker Family Health Program.

This year, Emory undergraduate student nurses will conduct health screenings for migrant children to include vision and hearing, hemoglobin tests to screen for anemia, and height and weight measurements to assess growth and development.

Graduate nursing students will perform physical assessments and provide referrals to those needing further evaluation for chronic health issues. The adults will be screened for blood pressure, hemoglobin, glucose, and other tests as needed. The most common ailments faced by farm workers are muscle strains, back problems, urinary tract infections, dental problems, skin rashes and eye infections.

In addition to Emory nursing faculty and students, participants in the Farm Worker Family Health Program include: Clayton State University, Darton College and West Georgia Technical College dental hygiene students; Georgia State University psychology and physical therapy students; and University of Georgia pharmacy students.

The Farm Worker Family Health Program has received support from the Stahl Family Foundation, the Georgia Healthcare Foundation and Emory University alumni and friends. In addition to providing health care services, the Farm Worker Health Family Program will distribute hygiene kits and clothing to the farm worker communities.

Originally posted on June 2, 2010

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