For 30-plus years, One Community Health (OCH) has made a commitment to provide health education and services to migrant farmworkers who harvest fruit throughout the Columbia River Gorge each summer. While the mission to serve this population is no different this summer, big changes are afoot, particularly in regard to how outreach will play out and some of the key players behind it.
As in years past, farmworkers and their families who are screened for health care services and receive recommendations for additional medical, behavioral or dental health care can access the OCH Migrant Farmworker Clinic, which started June 19:
• Walk-in appointments for medical and behavioral health
Monday-Thursday, 3-5:30 p.m. and Friday, 3-5 p.m.; $25-$30 per visit (bring last paycheck stub to apply for sliding-scale discount), 1040 Webber St., The Dalles
• Dental emergencies
Monday-Thursday, 3-5 p.m.; $50 per visit with OCH discount, 1040 Webber St., The Dalles (call first, 541-296-4601)
For more information about the OCH migrant farmworker outreach, email aswift @onecommun-ityhealth.org.
For more information about the OCH Migrant Farmworker Clinic or its walk-in hours, call 541-296-4601.
One Community Health (OCH) is a nonprofit, Federally Qualified Health Center with locations in The Dalles and Hood River. Formerly known as La Clínica del Cariño Family Health Care Center, Inc., it was founded in 1986 and has evolved into an official Patient-Centered Primary Care Home. OCH currently provides services to over 11,000 patients. In addition, OCH provides proactive educational programs and support that sustain its integrated approach to health and wellbeing. Dedicated to advancing health and social justice for all its community members, OCH serves patients from the Mid-Columbia River Gorge Region: Wasco, Hood River, Klickitat and Skamania Counties.
For more information, visit www.onecommunityh....
For starters, OCH is announcing a new direction with a number of community partners that are working on a common goal: making outreach bigger and better. According to Alicia Swift, OCH’s enabling services manager, this new development came about when the OCH Outreach Team started attending and helping lead various meetings with these organizations. All of them were already working to serve the migrant farmworker population in the region in some way. From the meetings, came a more powerful action plan for a series of collaborative, coordinated outreach visits.
“It simply made sense,” Swift said. “You’ve got all these local organizations working toward a common cause — supporting migrant farmworkers — and yet we felt if we all came together around the same table, we could probably do so much more.”
During harvest season, OCH will conduct four of its visits to farmworker camps solo. OCH is teaming up with Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC), which also has a track record for its successful farmworker outreach program, called “Serving Oregon and its Migrants by Offering Solutions” (SOMOS). Together, OCH and MCMC organizations are co-leading three visits to farmworker camps in June and July. The combined efforts and professional talent will give farmworkers more health care services, access to resources, and education, as well as new types of support than in years past.
“Our SOMOS program has been an amazing success,” said Dianne Storby, MCMC’s chief operating officer. “Last year, we proudly met the needs of so many community members, and we look forward to working with One Community Health to make this this year an even bigger success.”
In addition to OCH offering the usual nutrition and chronic disease education, glucose testing and blood pressure checks, it will now provide dental education, behavioral health screenings, plus education around heatstroke, dehydration and safety practices. OCH will bring its share of staff, supplies and equipment while MCMC will contribute medical providers, interpreters, volunteers and physical therapists for even greater support and impact. Most of the outreach will be at orchards around The Dalles.
“MCMC employees have a long history of volunteering in the community,” said Denise Dietrich-Bokum, SOMOS program coordinator and a supervisor at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. “Many of our volunteers grew up in or near orchards, worked in agriculture, or just have a passion to help others. We have a large, diversified workforce from administrators, nurses, medical, lab and nursing assistants, as well as medical providers and board members. SOMOS is fortunate to be able to recruit volunteers from such a large talent pool. These MCMC volunteers will be registering migrants, taking vital signs, handing out hygiene kits, and providing information on accessing resources in the community. Workers and their families who need to see a physical therapist or medical provider will be evaluated and treated, or referred for further treatment by our volunteer pediatricians, family and internal medicine providers, and physical therapists.”
Meanwhile, other community partners are reinforcing the outreach, too. Fish Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, The Next Door, Oregon Food Bank, Gorge Grown Food Network, Klickitat Health Department, Skyline Hospital, Providence Hospital and Oregon Child Development Coalition are all stepping up to volunteer, help with food boxes and more. Some of these agencies have assisted in years past but are now increasing their efforts and resources.
“We’ve divvied up our responsibilities, so it should work out really well,” Swift said. “Given all the plans with these agencies and the significant partnership with MCMC, these events will have more of a health-fair feel, rather than be like traditional outreach visits. It’s exciting — and it’s going to be huge!”
Mid-Columbia Medical Center has been providing healthcare to people of the Mid-Columbia region in its current location on 19th Street in The Dalles for over half a century. The staff of nearly 1,000 employees and more 50 physicians, as well as more than 200 volunteers, work as a team to provide care that is respectful of the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families. In 1992, MCMC became the first hospital in the world to implement the Planetree philosophy of care facility wide. In the ensuing years, MCMC was transformed into a one-of-a-kind center of healing, a place very different from what most people expect of a hospital. For more information, visit mcmc.net.