On January 25, 2023, Health Outreach Partners in collaboration with the National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. (NCFH) and a funding grant from the Centers for Disease Control, created Farmworker Outreach Promising Practices: Lessons from the Field. This publication details promising outreach practices for connecting with farmworker communities from 10 farmworker-serving agencies across the USA. Community Health Centers of the Central Coast is honored to be among those acknowledged for health outreach efforts recognized as an Outreach Promising Practice.
Unmet Needs Addressed
In addition to food insecurities, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a need for timely health education materials that would be accessible to the farmworker community. Therefore, CHC’s behavioral health outreach team and promotores came together to develop and implement a health education program for the community. The program leveraged CHC’s culturally appropriate food assistance while utilizing COVID-19 safety measures, such as social distancing and being outdoors, to deliver information. CHC developed the ‘tableros educativos’ (education boards) during this time and it has become a well-known and trusted resource in the community. The boards’ heavy reliance on visuals, pictograms & icons was essential for communicating crucial health information to indigenous, Mixteco-speaking & farm-working populations, many of whom have no written language.
“The richness of these efforts – to combine infographics with attentive, appropriate dialogue – is in the trusted promotora’s ability to clarify questions, provide interpretation, and build community connection, all while ensuring the safety of the outreach workers and community members by practicing social distancing.”
– Magdalena Sunshine Serrano Director of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry Services
Because of CHC’s generational connections with farmworker communities, their team steered county efforts towards effectively reaching these populations. Through collaboration with food pantries, local government agencies, and a trusted partnership with community members, CHC continues to protect and elevate the needs of its community.
By keeping a registration list, CHC measured its reach in the community. In 2020, when CHC’s tableros educativos initiative began, outreach workers connected with 5,044 families and 17,031 individuals. In 2021, CHC connected with 3,456 families and 13,831 individuals served.
CHC leadership and outreach team remained closely engaged with county public health departments. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department created the Latinx & Indigenous Migrant COVID-19 Response Task Force, in conjunction with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), which met weekly during the pandemic’s peak to keep organizations and community leaders informed. This collaborative workspace enabled agencies to dialogue with the Public Health Director and bring forth population-specific concerns. This working relationship allowed CHC to update county officials on heavily impacted neighborhoods while receiving updated COVID-19 case counts every ten days. Moreover, the group was able to collectively address systemic issues that posed barriers to care for isolated community members.
Congratulations to everyone at CHC and in the partner organizations who assisted in addressing the challenge of this communication need to make it a reality!