The 24th Annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum held in San Antonio, TX was a huge success! Thank you to all 203 attendees who traveled from near and far to San Antonio, Texas. You helped make this conference a wonderful event. Forum participants were offered 24 individual 90-minute breakout sessions, 3 exciting and information packed plenary sessions, and three 3-hour intensive sessions, totaling over 50 hours of educational opportunities! More than 50 speakers from across the country presented on a wide array of topics including: the 19 Health Center Program Requirements, the Affordable Care Act, behavioral health, outreach and enrollment, Community Health Worker programs, HIV, pesticide safety, Community Based Participatory Research, personal goal setting and career planning, diabetes, PCMH, and community engagement, among many others. The 2014 Midwest Stream Forum also allowed the attendees a special opportunity; at Thursday’s Opening Plenary we were honored to have Dr. Seiji Hayashi provide updates from the Bureau of Primary Health Care. Dr. Hayashi is the Chief Medical Officer at HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care. Dr. Hayashi discussed an overview of health center programs and provided a review of primary care strategies including increasing access; modernization of infrastructure and systems; improving health outcomes, and organizational culture. Our additional opening plenary presenters included an update from our NACHC partners, and an update of the policy activity around Community Health Workers. The closing plenary provided an update on the hot topic of immigration reform. It was perfectly timed and well received following an important week of national immigration reform decisions.
In addition to the educational sessions and plenaries, 12 exhibitors were onsite sharing a wide variety of products and information on an array of migrant and seasonal farmworker specific topics. Participants did have the opportunity to network as well. The Thursday evening Welcome Reception offered attendees the opportunity to hear from Dr. Esteban Lopez. Dr. Lopez, Regional President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, welcomed participants and spoke on the Affordable Care Act and how it is changing health care coverage for Texans across the state. The dinner that followed allowed participants to reconnect with colleagues while enjoying local San Antonio food and live music. Friday breakout sessions provided an intense day of learning that included a Keynote Luncheon Plenary. The forum was pleased to have Francisco Pancho Arguelles deliver a heartfelt keynote address on the power of building community engagement in our public work. Friday evening provided additional time for colleagues to reconnect with one another and enjoy the beautiful Riverwalk of San Antonio, TX.
We sincerely thank all of you who were in attendance for making this year’s Midwest Stream Forum one to remember! We hope that you found it as exciting, rejuvenating, and educational as we did! Please join us next November for the very special 25th Annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum.