This past Saturday was our next-to-last session! I was especially excited for this as I had been looking forward to it all semester. After watching Harvest of Dignity, our students learned from a panel on a vulnerable population that faces many health and socioeconomic inequities – farmworkers. The panel consisted of
- Dr. Gayle Thomas, family physician and Medical Director of the NC Farmworker Health Program
- Osiel Alanis, former farmworker and Behavioral Health Operations Assistant for the NC Farmworker Health Program, and
- Andrea Mendoza, Duke ’15 and former alumnus of Student Action with Farmworkers
Afterwards, we challenged our students in an activity that put to use their skills and knowledge gained over the past year. Our students were tasked with 90 minutes to design and pitch a business proposal for a comprehensive community clinic/center in rural NC. Their solution had to address farmworker needs that incorporated issues that we’ve discussed so far in SALUD, ie. mental health, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, obesity/nutrition, food insecurity, sexual health, intimate partner violence, etc.. They presented their proposals to the fictionalized “NC Commission for Farmworker Health” whose board consisted of:
- Dr. Tony Fuller, Director of Research for Duke Global Neurosurgery,
- Dr. Erin Van Scoyoc of the Carrboro Community Health Center,
- Chi Vo, Program Coordinator for Duke Community Service, and
- Dr. Monica Alvarez, medical student and long-time Durham community member
I am so proud of what our students were able to do in such a short amount of time and their ability to deliver under pressure. Not only were they holistic in their approaches, but they came up with thoughtful and innovative ideas on how to tackle long-standing and complicated disparities for a vulnerable population. Whether it was environmentally conscious yet medically comprehensive mobile clinics, 24/7 solutions with wrap-around social services, or centers rooted in community-engagement and trust, we were all impressed by their proposals and on-the-spot thinking to answer tough questions from board members.
In 11th grade, our students have now learned the basics of identifying systemic causes of health disparities, assessing needs of vulnerable communities, broadly identifying key stakeholders, incorporating community resources to design comprehensive interventions, and pitching a proposal to funders.
Two more weeks and we’ll be done with SALUD 2019!