230045 A Campus-Community Partnership for Migrant Tomato Workers' Health

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alexis Andino , Rural Medical Services, Migrant Health Program, Parrottsville, TN
Karin Hoffman , Rural Medical Services, Migrant Health Program, Parrottsville, TN
Steve Manock, MD MS , Rural Medical Services, Migrant Health Program, Parrottsville, TN
Amy K. Liebman, MA, MPA , Migrant Clinicians Network, Quantico, MD
Joseph Florence, MD , Department of Family Medicine, Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Sharon Loury, PhD RN , College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Ken Silver, SM, DSc , Department of Environmental Health, ETSU College of Public Health, Johnson City, TN
Background/Need. Migrant farm workers are continuously exposed to ergonomic and chemical hazards in Tennessee which is among the top five tomato producing states. Methods and Partners. In the spring of 2008 an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty catalyzed a partnership with a regional clinic for migrant laborers and a national clinical network for healthcare professionals caring for the mobile underserved. Based on clinical observations and an earlier survey, musculoskeletal disorders were identified as a priority issue. Results. Five assessment and intervention activities are underway in a framework of community-based participatory research. First, video footage of harvesting and sorting was analyzed using the Rapid Entire Body Assessment method, revealing movements and postures likely to be injurious. Second, an ergonomic intervention in packing house workers was conducted. Third, diagrams and photos of alternative technologies for hoisting 35 pound buckets of tomatoes were assembled for evaluative discussions with tomato workers and farm owners, with an eye toward field trials. Fourth, continuing education seminars on occupational health for primary care clinicians were presented by the national network, with students and faculty evaluating outcomes. Fifth, a case-based training module on occupational health has been developed for residents in family medicine and third year medical students. Conclusions and Next Steps. Ergonomic hazards require a multi-pronged effort to redress longstanding practices. Farm owners will be invited to join the partnership and engage in a demonstration project. Although pesticides ranked low on the initial survey, tomato workers have voiced concerns about dermal and in utero exposure.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders among tomato workers.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Migrant Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with the project for 3+ years and all of the project's partners, lending technical, strategic and pedagogic guidance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.