Pfizer renews migrant farmworker initiative grant

The Association of American Medical Colleges, with the support of the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative, has renewed a 2001 Caring for Community Grant for the Medical College of Georgia's Migrant Farmworker Initiative Project.

The $30,000 grant supports mobile medical clinics in the onion fields of Vidalia, Ga., during the town's peak onion harvest from mid-April to June.

The program offers primary health care to migrant workers and enables MCG students to practice their medical skills under the supervision of MCG faculty.

"You provide treatment for conditions you wouldn't normally see in an office setting," said Deepti Gupta, a second-year medical student. "Their living conditions aren't always optimal, so we see a lot of infectious diseases, things that spread easily in tight spaces." Other common ailments among the migrant workers include gastritis, allergies, skin rashes and musculoskeletal pain.

"Many of these workers perform the same task all day long, requiring the same motion over and over again," said Sapna Chand, also a second-year medical student. "Clearly if you're doing that, it can have a negative impact on your body."

The students will work with MCG faculty, Vidalia-area health care providers and health profession students from other Georgia universities. Additional grantees include the East Georgia Healthcare Center in Swainsboro, Ga., and the Magnolia Coastlands Area Health Education Center in conjunction with the Health Education Training Center in Lyons, Ga. The Southeast Georgia Communities Project, a community organization to better serve farmworkers, will provide translators for the clinics.

Dr. T. Andrew Albritton, MCG School of Medicine associate dean for curriculum, will serve as this year's faculty supervisor. Student participation and recruitment will be managed by Students for Intercultural Medicine, a non-profit, volunteer organization run by MCG students for humanitarian efforts.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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