My family is not one to talk about our feelings or problems, let alone trauma. We haven’t sat around the family dinner table unpacking the emotional weight of seeing everyone you love die and your surroundings entirely collapse before your eyes. How do you even begin to heal when you’re thrust onto a plane to Europe, America, or Australia only to find yourself dealing with anti-blackness from the state?
"Do or die" for migrant health

There’s a prominent and growing gap in access to affordable, quality, and culturally relevant healthcare for migrants and refugees in Australia. Because of this, they hold off on seeking help until it’s too late, resulting in higher costs for everyone involved. This quickly escalates into a lose-lose situation; the migrants are extremely sick and are therefore an even larger burden on the public healthcare system. 

World Wellness Group is a not for profit started by a group of professional healthcare practitioners striving to address health inequality in Brisbane. Last year, they launched the World Wellness Clinic, a makeshift operation that they set up with no financial support at the Brisbane Multicultural Centre. They have been operating there in two rooms rent free for the past year, but they have quickly outgrown their capacity and need to set up something larger and more permanent. 

World Wellness Group has tapped into an unmet need, but this means the demand is now exceeding their available resources. Just $60,000 will secure them rent for an entire year, in addition to allowing them to set up the administrative services necessary to support a much larger clinic. This will help accommodate the growing list of healthcare practitioners who want to join the center in providing services to migrant patients in need of support. It’s “do or die time” for the clinic and your help will mean contributing to the health of countless migrants in need.


What good do you want to create? Visit StartSomeGood today to learn about how to start your own campaign.

Fraser Valley hospitals revise policies to stop patient referrals to immigration police
Fraser Health Authority has said an article published by the Georgia Straight prompted the agency to instruct staff to stop referring immigration cases to border police.

One of the region’s largest health-care providers wants undocumented immigrants to know they can visit its hospitals and clinics without fear of deportation.

The issue became a concern for some people living in the Fraser Valley over the course of 2015. An increasing number of anecdotal reports suggested staff at Fraser Health Authority’s 12 hospitals, which include facilities in Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, Coquitlam, and Langley, were referring patients to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Then, as the Straight reported last December, information obtained via a freedom-of-information request confirmed that over roughly the preceding two years, Fraser Health had referred approximately 500 patients to CBSA, resulting in an unknown number of immigration investigations and deportations.

Interviewed for that article, Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma acknowledged patients’ concerns but maintained Fraser Health sometimes has to contact CBSA for billing purposes. She explained that nonresidents of Canada are charged different rates from residents, and sometimes a call to CBSA is required to confirm a patient’s status.

Now, Fraser Health has said it has revised its policies on CBSA referrals and has instructed staff to stop contacting immigration police unless they have a patient’s explicit consent.

The news came somewhat quietly, via a March 15 comment posted by the health authority’s official Facebook account.

“Since mid-January 2016, our staff have not contacted CBSA without the consent of the patients involved,” it reads. “Patient care is our first priority. The ability for a patient to pay does not delay care when they arrive at our Emergency departments.”

The comment goes on to give credit to the Georgia Straight for prompting reforms.

“Following the article in the Georgia Straight, we have reviewed and changed our processes,” it reads.

A subsequent comment attributed to Fraser Health CEO Michael Marchbank(confirmed by the Straight as authentic) provides further details.

“Since mid-January, we have instituted a process whereby our staff will not contact CBSA without the consent of the patient involved,” it reads. “We have informed all relevant staff to follow this process, and we are further communicating this to all of our acute care facilities.

“We understand how difficult it can be for individuals without health insurance to pay for the care they receive at our hospitals,” Marchbank’s comment continues. “Patient care is always of paramount importance to us. The ability for a patient to pay does not delay care when they present at our Emergency departments.”

The messages from Fraser Health officials were posted on Facebook in response to the announcement of a protest against Fraser Health’s old policies that was planned for March 21.

Byron Cruz is an immigration activist with Sanctuary Health, the group that organized that event (which is still on and scheduled to discuss a number of related issues such aspolice and RCMP relations with CBSA). In a telephone interview, Cruz called the Fraser Health announcement “great news”, but also noted it appears to pertain to process, as opposed to policies.

“We really appreciate that they are doing this,” he continued. “We still need to sit and discuss changes in policy….But it’s great news.”

Vancouver Coastal Health, which operates Vancouver General Hospital and many facilities outside the Fraser Valley, implemented similar reforms in August 2015. Since then, its staff also require a patient’s permission before placing a call to CBSA.

If a patient refuses to give permission, and residency status cannot be confirmed for billing purposes, the patient will be charged the higher rates of a non-Canadian resident.

i did poorly on all my homework

but i persevered and finished it. 

now, its Delores Huerta day. 

if anyone has any burning questions related to community health, migrant health, social movements and Delores Huerta, i’ll be happy to pass them on. 

it doesn’t seem fair. this school is so elitist they better be paying her a lot. my mentor told me to think of it that way, because i was like its not fair. i invited some community clinic people. i’m going to be working in a clinic soon, a community sponsored migrant health clinic. its grant funded from the university and other places i guess, so we won’t be needing ID’s or insurance or anything, which is sweeeet. but i guess we’ll only be running it once a month. blagh. that means the waiting list will be huge and affects minimal. but i’m excited to be back on the clinic scene, i’m tired of watching people on campus walk around like they’re special. 

off to use the free printing that they only have on my (new) part of campus, seriously  the sciences and medical schools are so privileged. my broke ass women and gender study majoring undergraduate ass could of used some free printing. damn. 

This past Thursday, on September 15, 2016, my practicum group and I went to Benson Area Medical Clinic to educate migrant workers on various health issues that are extremely prevalent in their population. Every Thursday night, from the months of April to October, physicians at this clinic discontinue seeing patients at 8 PM and begin seeing the migrant workers until all who have been scheduled, are seen. A majority of time, these migrant workers come to this clinic in groups; therefore, they must all leave together. For example, if twenty farmworkers are seen on one Thursday evening, they all come together on a bus and they all must leave together. During the time that each patient is getting seen, multiple workers are sitting in the waiting room. As a part of our public health practicum, we aim to educate these workers in health promotion.

The topics that are most prevalent in the farmworker community are high blood pressure, diabetes, heat stroke, green tobacco sickness, and oral health/hygiene. It was alarming to see that easily preventable diseases, such as gingivitis, were of major concern in these communities. Our practicum group made a poster board on the topic of heat stroke because we thought it was important that the farmworkers should get adequate hydration and layers of clothing in order to prevent fainting, nausea, dizziness, or altered mental state/behavior.

Upon arriving to the clinic, four workers greeted us as well as a few employees of the North Carolina Farmworkers Project, who help assist in transportation. We were made aware that three of the farmworkers that day had fainted due to heat stroke. Two were taken to local hospitals, and one had refused to go. It was shocking to learn that the issue we were going to talk about that evening hit so close to home. Although there was a language barrier in the room for some of our practicum group, there was a sense of comradery between us because we were all trying to accomplish the same goal: health prevention strategies.

Aside from discussing the ramifications of heat stroke, we also discussed the importance of oral health. Knowledge that is so routine to our practicum group, such as brushing your teeth twice a day or when to get a new toothbrush, is not well known among migrant workers. We created an interactive game called “cabbage,” or “repollo” in Spanish, which had different facts about the frequency of brushing teeth, and when to throw your toothbrush away. Our practicum wanted to educate these farmworkers on various ways to maintain optimal health, and the farmworkers were intrigued and involved in what we as students had to say. This made me feel like we were making a difference in our rural community. This direct impact is what I hope achieve as a public health leader and a physician assistant.

This past Sunday, September 18, 2016, our practicum group attended the 26th Annual Festival de los Trabadores del Campo. It was a festival dedicated to bringing farmworkers from various campsites together. There were soccer games between all campsites, delicious food derived from various countries, and different vendors ranging from jewelry makers to local health businesses who wanted to educate these farmworkers. Our practicum group set up a table near the Farmworkers Project tent and educated anyone willing to listen about the dangers of heat strokes. During our free time, we visited the Campbell University School of Medicine tent, where second year medical students were offering skeletal manipulations to alleviate pain and stress from farmworkers. This was a thoughtful idea because these men work incredibly long hours and deserved some rest and relaxation. This was beneficial for both the students and the workers.

After attending the festival, I realized the importance of having these events because they establish a sense of community. These men are away from their families for months at a time, and do not talk to their loved ones every day at times. This festival is so integral in keeping these men connected in order for them to feel at home even though they are not physically in the country they are originally from. Bringing together vendors from the local community for this celebration was amazing to witness.

Prior to my practicum, I had little to no idea that this community of farmworkers existed. I now notice vulnerable populations need to be addressed because the lack the opportunity that most of us are fortunate to have. In future activities for our practicum, we hope to educate more camps about health concerns and how to prevent disease. The necessity to address these health concerns in vulnerable populations is crucial because it will help accomplish the goals of public health: to promote health, to prevent disease and to enhance the quality of life for population health and individual health. #ThisIsCampbellPublicHealth