Improving the health of 'invisible' farmworkers is a community effort in Willcox
Sabine Galvis | Cronkite News | Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019
WILLCOX – A handful of voices softly chattering in Spanish filter into a building that’s become the heart of Winchester Heights, a Willcox neighborhood filled with farmworkers. The community center is dedicated to connecting southeastern Arizona residents – with one another and with better health care.
As the clock nears 6 p.m., more men and women arrive, some coming straight from 10-hour shifts in the greenhouses of a tomato farm north of Willcox. Musculoskeletal problems, frequent exposure to excessive heat and long-term exposure to pesticides are common problems for Arizona agricultural workers, and just a handful of the many issues this year-old center aims to address.
“For this community in particular, it’s because they’re so rural and isolated that a lot of the time they can’t go to the doctor,” said Linda Cifuentes, a staff member of the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center, or SEAHEC, and coordinator at the Winchester Heights Community Center.
“They can’t make the drive all the way to Tucson to see a provider. And surely, they come across a lot of people who aren’t bilingual in these health facilities.”
Enter SEAHEC and its Healthy Farms Program....