In April 2013, SEAHEC’s community health worker training pilot project ended successfully, having recruited and trained 15 farmworkers to provide workplace health and safety education. Topics included dealing with workplace injuries, heat and sun safety, cold and flu prevention, First Aid/CPR, and chronic disease management. The trainings also covered children’s health, nutrition and management of stress and depression.
Along with the health trainings, volunteers were versed in core competencies for community health workers, including their role in linking communities to health resources, interviewing skills and handling emergencies. SEAHEC launched the program in November 2011 in Winchester Heights, a farming community outside of Willcox.
To lead the trainings, SEAHEC recruited local health educator, Ana Solis Garcia, who is from a farmworker family, and has joined the SEAHEC team. SEAHEC’s Hannah Hafter provided coordination and technical support. Guest speakers included AzCHOW board member, and long time diabetes trainer, Maria Lourdes Fernandez, as well as SEAHEC’s Youth Program Coordinator Mireya Velasco.
Following graduation in May, the new community health worker team began to reach out to their peers and employers, ran their own workshops for the community, and took on projects to improve health conditions locally.
The training program is a component of SEAHEC’s Healthy Farms Initiative, which is designed to improve the health of farmworkers and their communities through community outreach, and technical support for growers in improving workplace health and safety standards.