Health Center Leaders Honored at the Conference for Agricultural Worker Health

Community Health Center leaders were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Migrant Health by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) for their longstanding commitment to delivering quality health care to agricultural farmworkers. The awards were presented at the 2018 Conference for Agricultural Worker Health, a national gathering which took place this week in San Antonio, TX.

Doug Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Greene County Health Care, Inc. in eastern North Carolina, and Susan Bauer, Executive Director of Community Health Partnership (CHP) of Illinois, were honored in a conference ceremony presided by NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden and Mike Holmes, Treasurer of the NACHC Executive Board.

Doug Smith has served at the helm of Greene County Health since 1996. Under his leadership the health center’s reach to farmworker community has expanded to nearly 25,000 with 8 delivery sites in three counties. He has also been a consistent and passionate voice on behalf of farmworkers, raising awareness about the need to do more to protect the health of this essential part of the labor force who tend to the fields and harvest the nation’s food.

Mr. Smith in an earlier statement has described the work of migrant health centers this way: “We hold the key to unlocking the door to health care access for millions of hard working men, women and children worthy of so much more than this nation is providing them. To stand idly by and continue to gain off the backs of these hardworking souls without giving back is a breach of our moral contract and contrary to our purpose.”

Ms. Bauer’s career in public health spans nearly 40 years. Her dedication to widening access to quality care among agricultural workers has led to a robust network of medical and dental clinics in rural north and central Illinois, serving more than 10,000 workers. Not only has Ms. Bauer’s focus been to expand primary care services, but also provide an array of educational programs that help farmworkers and their families prevent disease, avoid occupational injuries and protect their health, especially in economically challenging circumstances. Her work on this front led to the integration of community health workers in CHP’s system of care to ensure farmworkers can connect to important services. She has served as the President of the Illinois Inter-Agency Committee on Migrant Affairs, which represents 12 state agencies.

Also presented with the 2018 NACHC Outstanding Migrant Health Center Award were Camarena Health, a Community Health Center in Madera, CA, that serves nearly 17,000 farmworker patients. The health center operates as a teaching health center campus to train Physician Assistants affiliated with A.T. Still University.

Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services Farmworker Health Program in Beaufort County, SC, was also honored for their longstanding history of serving the thousands of migrant / seasonal agricultural workers. In addition to providing care the health center also partners with other organizations to connect farmworkers and their families with support services, such as legal services and education and outreach to expectant mothers.

In addition to NACHC, national partners for the 2018 Conference for Agricultural Worker Health include: the National Center for Farmworker Health; Migrant Clinicians Network; Health Outreach Partners; Farmworker Justice and MHP Salud.