Excitement raced through my body the Monday before I left Austin, TX. I was attending my first Migrant Health conference (Forum) since starting my position at the National Center for Farmworker Health in August 2015.
Admittedly, my relationship to the Migrant and Community Health movement was limited to inside our NCFH offices, and I was looking forward to an insightful experience on the importance of, and collaborative participation with, seasoned Migrant Health Champions. I made it to Portland, OR where the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association was holding the annual Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health.
I nervously walked into the UPS store and asked if they’d received my shipment of exhibit materials. They had! I waited by my exhibitor table for it to be delivered. I carefully unpacked the materials and introduced myself to other exhibitors and members of the Farmworker Health Network.
The following days were filled with inspiring sessions from building and sustaining cultural competency within organizations to discussions on health equity on different governmental levels; each session was as informative and collaborative as the next.
Each day I created new connections with my migrant health colleagues. My conversations with community health workers and promotoras de salud inspired me to work smarter towards putting the right tools in the hands that need them. NCFH works hard to create culturally appropriate health education materials for this exceptional population of workers. It was through the CHWs I witnessed the need for better access to quality health care for the population that helps feed America.
Nanci Luna Jimenez was this year’s keynote speaker. She moved the room with her vibrancy and enthusiasm for social justice amongst all people. She urged us to recognize that ambiguity exists in our lives and to accept two opposing thoughts to be true. Only with knowing and loving our own culture and ourselves can we truly be champions and allies of another’s.
Thank you NWRPCA for hosting a wonderful and inspiring conference this year.
Author’s Note: In conjunction with the Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health, NCFH hosts the annual Midwest Forum for Farmworker Health, this year’s conference will be held on October 31st – November 2nd in San Antonio. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Mindy Morgan
Media & Communications Specialist
Photo: NWRPCA & NCFH
The National Center for Farmworker Health
Improving health care access for one of America's most vulnerable populations