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It’s National Health Center Week , an opportunity to recognize the 9000+ Health Center sites across the country—including 285 right here in Massachusetts – and the lifesaving work they do in promoting the health of our residents, including the most vulnerable.

applepickingThis year during National Health Center Week, farmworkers are being recognized as a special population served by Health Centers, and Thursday, August 13 has been named Farmworker Health Day.

In Massachusetts, migrant and seasonal farmworkers—who cultivate, harvest and prepare our state’s crops for market—can particularly benefit from Health Center services. That’s because these workers temporarily move away from their homes for work, or only work for part of the year due to the seasonal nature of the job.

Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are at increased risk for certain health conditions, many due to work hazards such as pesticide exposure and repetitive motions while working. Some of these include:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic high blood pressure
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Eye wounds and irritation
  • Skin diseases and rashes
  • Heat illnesses
  • Dental disease

But access to health services can be a challenge, in large part due to the temporary nature of these jobs.

Fortunately, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers coordinates The Connecticut River Valley Farmworker Health Program (CRVFHP). Spanning Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Connecticut River Valley is the largest agricultural region in New England, and thousands of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and family members live and work throughout the region.

CRVFHP provides many needed services to this population, including:

  • Culturally appropriate health education and disease prevention services
  • Primary care and pharmacy services
  • Dental care

Each year, CRVFHP serves over 1,500 workers and dependents who have no other options for care.

On this, Farmworker Health Day, we extend a special thank you to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and the following Community Health Centers that participate in CRVFHP:

Baystate Brightwood  Health Center, Springfield

Community Health Center of Franklin County, Greenfield

Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke

In addition to the many others you serve, your work makes a huge difference in supporting the health of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, who in turn support our economy and help to ensure food gets to market and onto our tables!

Written By:

Health Communications Specialist in the Occupational Health and Safety Program.

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